I remember when being an American was a cool thing. Not long ago, in fact, it was a thing to be desired, and lied for, and proud to snatch! I remember when immigrating to America was the highest of dreams one can achieve .
But is it anymore??!!
People close all sorts of doors to Americans all over the world - more so than they open them in fact. Americans are scorned upon in Europe and in the Middle East. In Asia and Canada. In Latin America, too ... I guess Americans have gotten used to that kind of scorn. Hatred is better than ignorance, right?! At least everyone minds them. Until now!
Until recently, they still had the economic power to not worry too much about a couple of oh just so random little feelings some of the rest of the world out there held towards them.
Until now, I say ...
Nowadays, not many people go to Europe for vacations. For a while now, the middle class (all ranks), and not only them, has not been able to afford it... What's even sadder now: Canada is even more expensive than here, as well! Canada is too overpriced for America now!!! No trips to Canada?! Our "poor sister"?? Depressing...
No matter what their fist-cliched-over-heart patriotism will try to tell you, Americans do not hold their heads up high out there in the world anymore. They still have big patriotic hearts, and big mouths, here, but they cannot do that abroad. And they know it. If they still do, stubbornly, they look ridiculous and they should know it! Americans - humble?! That's a dimension I am still waiting to see ...
It's also depressing to see my Eastern European parents begging me to come back home, because, "honey, let's face it: it's better here! More safe!". I didn't think I'd live the day when the job market would look better in Romania than here!
When I was growing up, during Communism, America was the Heaven on Earth where people had everything they wanted, without rationing, and without standing in lines! Everything was plenty and available around the clock. All you had to do was get a job!
Not anymore... I went to WalMart tonight, and not only were the lines for gas unbelievable, but they had police forces to regulate the traffic in and out of the parking lot. They were also out of two of of three kinds of gas! And the gallon is not all that cheap, there, either, at $3.75 - but much cheaper than my neighborhood, where it's $3.98! Other parts of town display prices over $4.00 even.
America was supposed to have plenty of gas, and we were supposed to use our cars whenever we wanted, to go wherever we wanted, and to always fill up the tank, every time we pull up for gas! Not just get "just enough to make it". Not anymore. Not when there are stations that ration how much you can buy, or even ones that are closed down. Americans have to become mindful of spending, just like the rest of the world, anymore, it seems.
The Land of Plenty has all of a sudden become The Land of Plenty to Worry About!
Also during Communism, Romania's dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, was asked by the starving and freezing people, one winter, to give them more heat in their apartments (heat was centralized by the State, just like everything else). Ceausescu's answer was: "Put on another sweater! And if you have two on already, put a coat on! You'll be warm!".
My dad used to tell me then that I needed to move to America, where heat is plenty and affordable and I'll never be cold again!
Given the past few nights of chilly weather, I am trying really hard not to turn on the heat!! I am not sure I'll go through the winter if I start the heat in September, money-wise!! I am worried about losing my job every day, and I am not sure how I am going to pay my bills if that happens. I am trying to save and not splurge right about now. So, I'll give turning on the heat another thought, and in the meantime, I'll put on another sweater, and another blanket on, too, at night! Natural gas, too, as we all know, is so high as well!
When I was growing up, with the dreams of the Promised Land, I tell you: I have never thought it would look like this.
All around us, we see people saving, afraid for their jobs, laid off, companies shut down, people losing homes. Every morning, another huge corporation goes bust ... I know I am not saying anything new to anyone.
The only point I was trying to make here was that, on a personal level, this hurts! This is a chipped dream, and I don't do well with disappointments. I cannot look my parents in the eye and admit that I have failed in my choices! It's not the natural path of an (over)achiever!
I guess it is true what they say about big empires: they have their rise, and they have their fall. I hope this is just a temporary hiccup for this empire, though. I hope history has taught many lessons and illuminated minds can fix this. It's definitely, I think, important enough to make a spot in the history books.
Sure, America still has her freedom, which will lure millions still, decade after decade. But increased want for basic needs (and I don't even want to go anywhere near healthcare talks here - I'd need a book), total disregard of the Government for those needs , while fighting wars for sport and just to prove an empty principle instead, will make being an American being more and more un-cool!
I am not going back to Romania, but let me tell you: Canada has sounded sweeter and sweeter every time I have looked at it lately.
"Leave us our broken dreams
We'll give them time to mend" ... or break even worse.
I guess they call it "Depression" for a reason.
This ain't fun!