Friday, July 20, 2012

The American Dream

Sometimes when I walk downtown, homeless people hold out their hands for money and ask for help…

and many people call them lazy. In some places the government even calls it a crime. Then the people calmly deny them help because the homeless will somehow miss-use the funds…“they’re just going to go buy cigarettes or booze, and I’m not going to enable them”. They say that the person should use their hard work and effort and discipline to take advantage of the American dream.

But let’s say they do that. One day they get an idea. So they go out, they work hard, they use their smarts, and they use extreme discipline to start a business…and they start making money. Maybe even lots of money. They have achieved the American Dream!

Then, the people criticize them for being rich, for being selfish, and for not paying their fair share…they are now somehow ruining the American Dream of others.

And suddenly, the government is holding out their hand for money. But instead of asking for it, they force you to give it under threat of jail and loss of freedom.

And that is somehow not panhandling, lazy, or a crime?

We are hypocrites. Yes, WE.

We talk about the “government” as if they do this.

Wrong. We do.

We do it by electing people who make these laws, who design these processes, and who enforce these practices.

When are the people going to elect people that will quit using the government as a proxy for their laziness, their bad habits, and their bad choices?

When are we going to stop using the government as our OWN proxy to do the very thing we often scorn on the streets?

When are we going to remember that WE empower the government?! When are WE going to stop enabling them to waste our money on bad choices!?

You think that $5 to a homeless person is not going to help. Yet, you’ll unquestionably give the government thousands of dollars and never hold them accountable.

I bet you that 8 out of 10 homeless people, even with their bad choices, would get more out of that $5 than the government would. Who wants to bet against me?

This is not because Government cannot do good things or do things well. It is because we stopped caring enough to demand it does.

In many ways, we have become the homeless on the street - waiting for the government to give us things. 

And they are happy to do it by taking it out of your pocket, keeping some of it, and giving a small portion back to you.

Wake up America. Please. Wake up to the American Dream. 

While it is a dream, to achieve it we must be completely awake!

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