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Land of Opportunity: The Wrong Premise

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posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 11:36 AM
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Land of Opportunity: The Wrong Premise


Does America have it all wrong? Did we set ourselves up for failure?

By positioning America as “The Land of Opportunity,” we negated any other priority as a driving principle in our growth and development. We have created a model society; not of brotherhood and sustainable structures for civilization; but rather a society and country where success is measured by who best takes advantage of opportunity to amass wealth, power and resources. Opportunity eventually consolidates to the few. In order to be winners – there had to be losers.

We made opportunity the supreme objective shaping our pursuits, our hopes, our dreams and our desires. Investment of time, talent and resources has followed this, I feel, misguided directive leading us to the despair and realization of exactly what we sought. Opportunity is not endless. Opportunity must build upon the realized attainment of prior opportunities leading to the consolidation of wealth among those best positioned to seize the day.

Should America’s positioning statement continue to be “The Land of Opportunity?” Is this very principle partly to blame for taking us to the brink of an economic global meltdown? Is individual opportunity the best organizing value for any society? Would not, individual talents and abilities in another ultimately be suppressed under this goal by the few who choose to maintain their current hold over opportunity once it is realized to maintain competitive advantage? Does maintaining opportunity supersede longer-term objectives such as maintaining valuable resources for future generations? Have we traded our future for opportunity today? I believe we have. It is time, I fear, for a great deal of national soul searching to decide if our positioning statement, “America: The Land of Opportunity” was wrong from the start.

Is there a better directive? Is there a better goal? Is there a better statement you would propose under which to organize our future? Is it time for a new and improved national identity? Did we get....exactly what we wished for?




posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 11:58 AM
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Land of Opportunity?


When questioned about the enormous income inequality in the United States, the cheerleaders of America’s unfettered markets counter that everybody has a shot at becoming rich here. The distribution of income might be skewed, but America’s economic mobility is second to none.

That image is wrong, and these days it abets far too many unfair policies, including cuts in essential programs like Head Start or Medicaid. The poor, we are told, can use their own bootstraps. President Bush got away with huge tax cuts for the rich in part because nonrich Americans, who make up most of the population, believe everybody has a chance of making it into the club. Unfortunately, the American dream is not that broadly accessible.

Recent research surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a governmental think tank for the rich nations, found that mobility in the United States is lower than in other industrial countries. One study found that mobility between generations — people doing better or worse than their parents — is weaker in America than in Denmark, Austria, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain and France. In America, there is more than a 40 percent chance that if a father is in the bottom fifth of the earnings’ distribution, his son will end up there, too. In Denmark, the equivalent odds are under 25 percent, and they are less than 30 percent in Britain.


Is Opportunity a fictional story told by the few to entertain and enslave the many? Opportunity is an unsupported illusion meant to shame those who "have not" into feeling unworthy.



posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 12:39 PM
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Very interesting post and I'm glad you brought this subject up. To begin with I feel this is in fact the land of opportunity if you are from foreign soil and not a US citizen. Although this may sound racist, it is not. It's a fact! We meaning (OUR GOVERNMENT) are giving more opportunities to foreigners, than the Citizens of this country. Through lax border control and H1B visas that are allowed to expire with no fear of reprisal. I feel that our Government is giving this country away, LIKE IT'S A K-MART BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL. While the true citizens are losing their jobs and struggling just to get by. Being asked to cut back and do without, Prompts me to ask a question. Don't the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few? Should we not take care of the LEGAL US CITIZENS first before offering our services to others?



posted on Apr, 22 2009 @ 01:41 PM
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Are we blaming immigrants for our economic and social distresses?

"Welcome, fellow immigrants."

Those were the words of Franklin Roosevelt at a convention of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the 1930s. They, like us, were horrified to think of themselves as immigrants. America was seeded with immigrants, legal and illegal, drawn by it's promise as The Land of Opportunity.

The "Land of Opportunity" slogan has been in play for a long, long time. The ideal has become a founding principle of our country. Now that jobs are scarce and times are hard, we hang out the no vacancy sign. Perhaps rightfully so. Perhaps not. Should we be shocked that people continue to buy into the false dream we sold around the world simply because we believe ourselves to be full and opportunities declining?

Unless we are Native Americans, we - our families - were at one time all immigrants.

It is so like our leaders to shift blame from them or even bad policies to ourselves and each other. In their mirage - it could never be the principle that was flawed - it's the new guy's fault - of course.

I don't mean to dismiss your point because this sentiment is shared by many. I caution that we mistake a no vacancy and no opportunities left perception for the root cause of our troubles. Could the cause truly be - that the opportunity which was an illusion to begin with - has played out and the monopoly game we were all unknowingly engaged in - was won by those who made up the rules? Should this civilization have had a loftier goal that was more community oriented - more sustainable?

Was it really ever the land of opportunity....or a grand experiment in economic indentured servitude population expansion with the tease of "get rich quick" and "make it in America" as the bait. Should we be surprised that our families bit on the hook and those who continue to bite...want the same things your ancestors did? It's like offering a great deal and then being mad that people still show up at the store for the item which sold out long ago. It was a promise....America could never honor and keep.

America is a nation peopled by millions who have sought to find a new life in a new country. What I'm suggesting is that false advertising led us exactly where we/they knew we would go.

Many of us with "American" names...after the endings were dropped off....now find cause to blame people with exotic names simply because they came to the party late.

Are the newbies really to blame....or have we just served our master's designs well enough with the lot of us already here? Maybe it's their coffers, not our country, that is currently full enough because every scrap on the kitchen table has been consumed.

Hook, line and sinker...your family and mine...took it all.

How long could the illusion really last? How long could a principle based on individual greed, at some level, continue to play.

I would suggest that along with the border controls we are imagining...we also imagine a society centered around a more compassionately sustainable model where trials, tribulations AND triumphs are less individually born.

America may need a little less sense of self and more selflessness in our vision.



posted on Apr, 23 2009 @ 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by DancedWithWolves

Are we blaming immigrants for our economic and social distresses?

"Welcome, fellow immigrants."

Those were the words of Franklin Roosevelt at a convention of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the 1930s. They, like us, were horrified to think of themselves as immigrants. America was seeded with immigrants, legal and illegal, drawn by it's promise as The Land of Opportunity.

The "Land of Opportunity" slogan has been in play for a long, long time. The ideal has become a founding principle of our country. Now that jobs are scarce and times are hard, we hang out the no vacancy sign. Perhaps rightfully so. Perhaps not. Should we be shocked that people continue to buy into the false dream we sold around the world simply because we believe ourselves to be full and opportunities declining?

Unless we are Native Americans, we - our families - were at one time all immigrants.

It is so like our leaders to shift blame from them or even bad policies to ourselves and each other. In their mirage - it could never be the principle that was flawed - it's the new guy's fault - of course.

I don't mean to dismiss your point because this sentiment is shared by many. I caution that we mistake a no vacancy and no opportunities left perception for the root cause of our troubles. Could the cause truly be - that the opportunity which was an illusion to begin with - has played out and the monopoly game we were all unknowingly engaged in - was won by those who made up the rules? Should this civilization have had a loftier goal that was more community oriented - more sustainable?

Was it really ever the land of opportunity....or a grand experiment in economic indentured servitude population expansion with the tease of "get rich quick" and "make it in America" as the bait. Should we be surprised that our families bit on the hook and those who continue to bite...want the same things your ancestors did? It's like offering a great deal and then being mad that people still show up at the store for the item which sold out long ago. It was a promise....America could never honor and keep.

America is a nation peopled by millions who have sought to find a new life in a new country. What I'm suggesting is that false advertising led us exactly where we/they knew we would go.

Many of us with "American" names...after the endings were dropped off....now find cause to blame people with exotic names simply because they came to the party late.

Are the newbies really to blame....or have we just served our master's designs well enough with the lot of us already here? Maybe it's their coffers, not our country, that is currently full enough because every scrap on the kitchen table has been consumed.

Hook, line and sinker...your family and mine...took it all.

How long could the illusion really last? How long could a principle based on individual greed, at some level, continue to play.

I would suggest that along with the border controls we are imagining...we also imagine a society centered around a more compassionately sustainable model where trials, tribulations AND triumphs are less individually born.

America may need a little less sense of self and more selflessness in our vision.

Unfortunately your Liberal narrow mindedness clouds your ability to see the big picture, my friend. I agree that at some time in our lineage we were all immigrants. However in today's current financial and political climate, your argument does not hold water. Government has seen fit to relax all the checks and balances with regard to immigration in this country, and now we are suffering greatly for it. When times get tough you have get back to the basics in order to restructure and realign. I see none of this being done. All I see is just more of the same bull crap regardless of party affiliation. Should we restrict immigration, so that we can get our financial and political house in order? ABSOLUTELY!



posted on Apr, 23 2009 @ 07:23 PM
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Drummerroy,

What you see as narrow mindedness I see as broadminded and big picture. I respect our different perspectives and our right to share them. I understand your concern about immigration and I am not advocating the removal of restrictions while we get our house in order. I see the fact that immigration has become such an emotionally charged issue as further evidence that selling America as "The Land of Opportunity" helped create the issue. I'm not disagreeing with minding our door. I'm concerned about the message we stuck out on the "Welcome Mat."

Porous borders and immigration reform as an issue are a symptom of the mission we as a country set. Our mission was to create, seize and exploit opportunity to the very best of our individual abilities. I'd suggest, based on the wreckage left of our house, that we actually fulfilled our mission far better than we had ever dreamed. We made taking advantage of opportunity pay off big time. Only, the pay off ultimately ends up in the hands of the few - the very few. That's how the game ends.

Immigration as an issue is a symptom. What is the disease? Could it have been the ideal we decided to set as our cornerstone? Could building civilization around opportunity for the individual - rather than a sustainable, cohesive and connected community have put us in the fast lane to exactly where we are? How long can any society last if, as a cornerstone, the mission is not, "All for one, and one for all?" America has too big a sense of self.

I believe we can and should and even could do better. Opportunity is not a bad thing. The pursuit of opportunity at the expense of our fellow human beings very lives - the elderly, the young and the sick who we have left literally in the streets to suffer and die - does not represent the best we can do.

America needs a new mission statement...this one hasn't turned out so well.

If you had it to do over again - knowing where building a country around the supreme concept of individual opportunity has led - what would you want America's mission statement to be? What ideal would you place at the "New" America's cornerstone? Surely, all that we have learned, all that we have seen, all that has been caused to happen, is enough to make us stop and ponder the possibility - that maybe we can do better. Better by each other. Better to each other. Better for each other. Sometimes...the greatest opportunities...pay next to nothing.

We live in a country that doesn't value character and compassion as much as we value making a buck because we never decided how to bank those particular commodities. We got too far away from the barter system where you trade something of value for something of value in our pursuit of unending greed and financial opportunity. Those errors do not have to define us tomorrow or even today. But, it requires that we be big picture. That we don't get bogged down in debate for too long about the symptoms like too many people wanting that dream of opportunity; and that we focus on the cause. Immigration is not the only reason why we are where we are. Fixing immigration issues will not solve where we are. We need a new course to a different destination.

Just a thought....and a question.


[edit on 23-4-2009 by DancedWithWolves]



posted on Apr, 23 2009 @ 08:26 PM
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There does need to be a change I think in either two directions. The first is a restoration of true capitalism, with regulation that will make it work for everyone. But since we won't be seeing that anytime soon, the second is socialism. Our current system doesn't seem to be working to the satisfaction of everyone.

Maybe I'm wrong but it does seem like the younger generation is open more to looking at different systems. The failures of our current system are too numerous to even say really. A system that values money more than people isn't a system that I'm going to like.



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