American Dream Evolving into Nightmare


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

Over several decades, the American dream has been the pride of every citizen. It originated on a very positive and constructive ground. Shortly after he took office, President John F. Kennedy described the USA as a conglomeration of nations. We all know, more or less, who are the Chinese, the Germans, and the Russians. They are generally people from China, Germany and Russia. But when it comes to the United States, the situation is different. In essence, Americans consist of a sum-total of immigrants that come from across every continent.

American Dream in Perspective

In spite of this fact, all Americans have always been reminded of the so called American dream. This consists of an implanted hope in every single American without exception that in this nation the opportunities given to people for growth and development are without limit. Hence, regardless of one’s initial poor financial status, one can always make a lot of money and become rich. In itself, this may be viewed as a good philosophy that should make the world envious. It explains why so many people immigrate to the USA every year.

Nowadays, several millionaires tell us with pride how their parents or grandparents decided to settle in the United States because in the financial sphere it was felt to be the only hope to make it big. The opportunities for growth and development seemed so unlimited that many US Chambers of Commerce, when it comes to money-making, formulated the motto: The sky is not the limit!

If you make a million dollars you may as well make two, three million dollars and so on. As a result, the private enterprise became the center of attention.

As time rolled on, the United States developed into a system of capitalism. To this end, the government encouraged the growth and development of this system in a way that most of the financial sources became fully under the control of the private sector. As a result, many jobs were created and many people could rely on having a steady income for their livelihood. In the process of national development, many problems of other nations were not easily seen in the USA.

Among such problems we may enlist those dealing with health care, educational development, adequate home facilities, and those dealing with the infrastructure of cities. However, as big industries began to emerge, there was an urge to expand them into other countries as well. Hence, the political sphere began to play increasingly a big role. As big industries began to concentrate fully on making more and more money, the American dream began to fade away in the vast majority of the American people. In fact, nowadays the vast majority of the American people are only concerned in merely making ends meet.

Delusion of Many Americans

Ironically, many leading officials in the US government and preachers in a variety of churches still remind the American people of how lucky they are to be living in a country where everyone has a chance to make it big in life and to become rich. Even here, we have to keep in mind some important traditional sayings. In Latin one saying states: Aliud est theoria, aliud est practica…. one thing is theory and another thing is practice. In Italian there is a proverb which says: Tra il dire e il fare c’e’ in mezzo il mare…. Between saying and doing there is an abyss.

During the decade of the eighties when the saintly Pope John Paul II was visiting Mexico he was asked as to whether he thought world peace could ever be achieved.  Without hesitation he stated: Yes, world peace will eventually be achieved but only after two of the greatest evils of the 20th century are gone. He added saying: These two great evils are communism and capitalism because both advance their causes through the exploitation of people. Some three years later communism collapsed and the world took a sigh of relief.

People thought that since communism collapsed, capitalism’s fear of ever getting into serious conflicts must have gone away as well. But Pope John Paul II proved to be highly intuitive. The objective of capitalism is the promotion of the products of big industries headed by advanced weapons business and the military industrial complex. They soon began to create scenarios of fear across every continent as to force the US government to “invest” billions of dollars on war machinery and to instigate conflicts in many global areas.

Hence, the United States embarked upon building hundreds of foreign military bases, which cost billions of dollars a month. Besides, it started to sell all kinds of weapons and war machinery to many countries under the pretext of “self-defense and national security.” This approach was stupid to say the least and malicious to say the most, since governments change periodically and the one that is viewed as an ally today may be viewed as an enemy tomorrow.

This means the next government may use these same American weapons against the United States. We recall how the United States armed to the teeth the Shah of Iran who was viewed as a close ally. However, when the Shah was overthrown, those US weapons remained in Iran. They were not returned to the USA. To turn an insult into injury, the new Iranian government vouched that it’s most important mission was to destroy the devil, referring to the USA. It is useless for us to make such statements. The United States needs to be very cautious because it may end up aiding its enemies to eventually destroy it.

Shortsightedness of Capitalism

When it comes to eventual real welfare of people, capitalism has not long range plans. Its only plan is to make money now fast and smooth. Also, in capitalism the government proves to be very weak since it is controlled ruthlessly by big industries headed by the weapons and military industrial complex. This explains why the USA continues to equip as many countries as possible with all kind of military devises. US military bases everywhere exist to threaten nations whose policies are not pleasing to American business interests.

When US government officials talk of “American interests,” they are referring by all means to the interests of big corporations headed by the weapons industry and military industrial complex. The permanent goal of American capitalism, as it stands today, is to instigate conflicts and to promote wars indefinitely. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated recently that he wants to make it clear to the whole world that the United States is and it will remain for this entire 21st century the strongest military nation on earth.

Both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq were not justified. The problems there could have been solved through diplomacy and healthy dialogues if the United Nations were given a chance to play a role. Yet, these two wars cost the USA close to 4 trillion dollars. With that money the United States could have provided free health care and free education to all Americans for the rest of this 21st century. They could also have provided adequate home facilities for some 18 million people who are virtually homeless.

Some 3% of the American people make much more money than the other 97% combined. The American dream proved to be a reality for these 3% of the population. But such an American dream has literally become a nightmare for the vast majority of the American people. Here we are faced with a frightening reality that the US news media hardly ever bring up into the open. The huge amount of money the US government had as surplus had been used to manufacture weapons, to wage wars, and to build foreign military bases.

As long as the USA keeps on relying on its military to solve the problems of the world, the American people are bound to lead miserable lives. On the whole, they are deprived of a good health care system, of a good free education and of adequate home facilities for millions in dire need. To turn an insult into injury, the US news media hardly ever bring news that is critical of the military and of the weapons and military industrial complex. The US news media continues to justify the manufacture and sales of weapons to many countries.

Brainwashing of US News Reporters

American news reporters continue to repeat the words of leading government officials that sophisticated weapons and a well equipped military stationed in some 900 foreign military bases are vital for the national defense and security of the nation! Millions of totally uninformed Americans express surprise and wonder why there seems to be so many that “hate” Americans especially in countries where the USA had been engaged in struggles and wars, like in Central Asia and the Middle East. Some humanitarian organizations of the United Nations wanted to explore the real source of this phenomenon.

During the Iraqi war, a group of humanitarians went to Iraq and Palestine to explore the source of animosity toward Americans. They asked children in schools between the ages of 9 and 11 years of age: “What would you like to do when you grow up?” The answer to their surprise was almost unanimous. The bulk of them said without hesitation: “Killing Americans.” When asked as to why they wanted to do that as a goal in life, they gave very similar answer.

Here are some examples: Because Americans killed my father and now I have no father, they killed my mother and now I have no mother, they killed my brother or sister as well as my friends. They also added saying: Americans have destroyed our house and now we are homeless. They have also destroyed most of our schools and markets and, as a result, we were deprived of food. From a quick glance at the history of the past 6,000 years of recorded civilization, we discover that wars were never waged to bring about genuine peace.

In fact, violence breeds violence and more violence breeds more violence. The military is the only agency that performs atrocities with no accountability. Some political scientists described the military as “a terrorist organization sanctioned by the government.” Moreover, Pope Benedict XVI said that war is never justified in any way. It explains why Jesus was critical of the “eye for an eye and the tooth for a tooth” and He exhorted us to love one another. The US huge expenditure on the military has transformed the American dream into a nightmare, which is making millions of Americans suffer for a very long time.


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Aug 2012.

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One Response to “American Dream Evolving into Nightmare”

  1. Patrick says:

    American empire will eventually destroy what little democracy remains in the country, as the two cannot coexist. Eventually developing into a military style dictatorship, its almost there now with the Pentagon becoming almost a 4th branch of government. In order to have a true democracy, empire must be reigned in. I don’t see this happening anytime soon, as imperialism marches on.