Across the country, American Dreams are evaporating in so many ways and for so many reasons it is hard to keep count. I was just reading today in the New York Times about homeowners who have been foreclosed upon now finding it difficult to rent apartments (including one 43-year-old woman who is renting kitchen-less space on the third floor of someone's house). Then you've got the destroyed homes and businesses in the Midwest from the floods, mounting layoffs, and then, of course, $4 gas.
What does this mean? Rejection letters from landlords. Sleeping in cars. Staycations (not trips to Myrtle Beach and Disneyworld). Beans and rice for dinner. Unemployment checks. All with the background noise of peak oil, climate change and drought.
How's all that for a slice of humble pie? I'm certainly eating it. All those years in college racking up debt while aspiring to build a career, own several homes, take weekend retreats and summer vacations (hey, maybe even travel overseas!), and retire at 60 could have been better spent preparing to live in an "earn less, make do" world. A world where people explore the nooks and crannies of their towns and cities rather than jet-setting, where homeownership exemplifies a person's commitment to their communities rather than a path to riches. A world where I have a blue-collar back-up to my white-collar 9 to 5.
Pride (as in "We Americans deserve it!") may have gotten us far in the the 20th century, but it will do us a disservice now. Sharing, sacrifice, solidarity, cooperation and common sense, all those things we pay lip service too, will be the currency that gets us through these next years and decades. It means sharing a house, a car, a garden. Counting the full cost of things you buy from production to sale. Creating miracles for yourself and other people instead of waiting for them to drop out of the sky. Seeing God work in darkness as well as light.
Throwing hissy fits is not going to get us through this deal.