Not long ago, Americans were vibrant, full of hopes and dreams. We told our children that if they stayed in school and worked hard, the world could be their oyster. Today, there has been a shift in our attitude toward life and the future. We talk about the American dream as if it were a distant memory. The “pursuit of happiness” has been replaced by the pursuit of mere survival.
There is no doubt that this national transformation began early in 2010. The jubilation surrounding Barack Obama’s election and promise of “hope and change” disintegrated one year after his inauguration into disillusionment and fear. While there is no doubt that the country already was in a recession before Mr. Obama took office, the excitement he brought to the nation began to wane amid people’s inability to keep their homes or find work. People simply began to feel helpless.
Fear and depression are powerful emotions. They also are contagious. We all know folks who have lost their homes or have been unemployed for years. We also are aware of many who are working jobs well below their skill level or who simply have dropped out of the workforce, giving up on finding a job. Their struggles are our struggles, and even though the majority of us still work, too many Americans experience sleepless nights — fearing the loss of their job is imminent or their career has become a dead-end street. This is not a good way to live.
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