Casualties of the American Dream

Pioneer Woman Collecting Cattle Dung, Kansas, c.1880Every dream has its price.

Some of the costs are obvious, while others sneak up on you, gradually.

In the name of progress, as Henry would say. That would be the Henry of Henry and the Great Society, which I highly encourage you and your families to read online. (simply follow the above link)

Just what is the American Dream about these days?  Material prosperity is a thin reflection masking a sorry fact–the bigger your house/car/TV, the more hours you’ll slave paying them off so that you can upgrade to even bigger homes, bigger cars and bigger HDTVs.

Is this truly “the American Dream”? Having “House Beautiful” and Pioneer Woman Getting Water from a Well Near Her Log Cabin, Carolinanever being on the premises to enjoy it? How about working two jobs just to sustain this poor substitute of “what really matters”?

Henry’s story tells it all. How contented he was before progress swept him along its mad rush nowhere…forever erasing life as he’d known it before electricity, plumbing, paved roads and cars, telephones and TV dinners.

If you’ve ever wanted to plant yourself in the lives of your grandparents, get a taste of the “good ole days” by reading Henry’s story. What must it have been like to upgrade and go “electric”, to be done with “outhouses”, wells, draft horse farming–to buy into the promise of having “more time” as a result, but in the end, having no time at all. It all sounds so good–time-saving appliances, tractors and cars, the world at your very fingertips via radio, television and telephones…and it benefited Henry’s wife and children right out of his life.

What really arrested my attention near the end of the book, was this statement:

“Society’s way of life…killed him with kindness; liberated him into slavery; prospered him into poverty; freed him into bondage. They reduced him to a tool of his tools; a beast of burden in his own carefully created harness.”

Hopefully I haven’t ruined the book for you, because it is a must read. I actually borrowed Farmer John’s copy, completely intrigued by his comment that it was the only book, other than the Bible, that he’d ever read to his congregation in its entirety, from the pulpit! Great essay potential for your children at the very least.

There’s more to life and it’s. not. worth. missing. So slow down and enjoy it. Or can you? Slow down?