The American Dream: Myth or Reality?
By Syed Roman Ahsan
10 October, 2011
The Scene: A fighter jet out of control is falling full speed towards the ground. The pilot wearing a white helmet fails to command the plane which finally crashes. The man barely survives. But wait! “They” had the technology to rebuild Steve Austin (Lee Majors) as the world’s first bionic man. After an operation in which they planted mechanical devices in his body, Steve was able to run faster than a stag, could punch through solid walls and carried an enhanced eye-vision enabling him to see the details of a tiny object 100 meters away.
I am talking about “Six Million Dollar Man”, the American TV series that seized the world by storm in the 1970s. Run on the local television network in Pakistan a little later like all other American TV shows, nevertheless the series got us enamored with the American way of life. We slowly started identifying ourselves with heroes like Steve Austin who like Spiderman were ready to crush evil by taking on the “bad guys” in the neighborhood. Week after week, new stories waited for us which would capture our innocent imaginations.
There were countless TV shows in the 1970s like “Little House on the prairie”, “Star Trek”, “Disney Show”, “The Persuaders”, “The Saint” etc. that catered to our fantasies. “Little House on the prairie” showed the day to day struggle of a modern farmer living with his wife and three daughters. Again, like the other good guys of the TV shows, the farmer was shown as a noble person who believed in making this world a better place to live in. Indeed, such people have to encounter more problems in their lives compared to others which provided spice for this TV show.
Five-minute cartoon shows like “Merrie Melodies” provided a different flair altogether making us desperately wait for our local TV transmission to begin since cartoons were aired at the very start. The theme in those cartoons mainly revolved around innocent pranks by the characters which were mostly animals. The sketches by the artists were sharp and the music simply lovable. Then of course, who could forget the big screen which cast a magic spell in those days with Hollywood classics like “Samson & Delilah”, “Crazy Boys (Sequels)”, “Yeti”, “Superman” (Series) etc. On the mini-screen, though movies were shown only twice a week and were mostly old yet they were also eagerly awaited by the crowd. Be it a comedy, a tough Western story, a romantic flick, a fun movie or an extended war movie with a heavy cast, the viewers would stay awake till late in the night to see them through.
Stepping into the teen years, what could have been a greater pastime than reading American novels especially during vacations? The 1980s had arrived, and it was difficult to escape the song numbers churned out by US music artistes with audio cassettes being an essential part of a teenager’s collection. Though magazines like Time, Newsweek and National Geographic fall in the sober category, but they had every capacity to grab the reader’s interest while lending us a different thought process. In a nutshell, we had then slowly become Americanized without even knowing the meaning of the word!
The references given above are mostly in the area of media attractions but it would be naïve not to mention the contribution made by the Americans to technology especially in the field of user-friendly devices. In the recent times, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are two Americans who have become household names, the world over. Apart from revolutionizing the way we communicate, study and work, these two gentlemen have no doubt imparted some valuable lessons to the whole world. Add to them the work by the American philosophers and intellectuals through books on almost every topic, it would be an understatement that we have gained from them.
Who could really discount the charismatic aura of the American Dream? Why are the Pakistanis (and the world in general) so mesmerized by its magic? There is just one word perhaps, “Perfection”. The Americans are perfectionists and they know how to present everything, be it a novel, a TV show, a movie, a product, a brand or an idea with a touch of class and appeal. Sadly, this includes their lies also! The American government gets away with any lies also because we are so blinded by the American dream that we are unable to recognize the truth. We also fail to realize that the American government is not the same thing as its people.
The Americans as portrayed in their TV shows stand for honesty, courage, generosity, integrity and compassion amongst other traits. The heroes in Hollywood movies are like saviors who act quickly to respond to challenging situations or to rescue the oppressed. The words “homicide” and “brutality” do not exist in their dictionary. The fictional American superhero “Superman” created in 1938 stands for the symbols of courage and chivalry as presented in comic strips, comic books, radio / TV shows and movies. But where are Superman and Batman now?
Why are they not saving the world from the evil forces that are creating havoc through wars, invading one country after another on the pretext of different alibis?
For people like me who grew up loving the American dream, it is so shocking and disappointing that the US government backed by the Zionists has a different act than Superman, Archie, Indiana Jones or James Bond. The administrators of the US government are more like the villains as portrayed in Hollywood movies. Arrogance is their hallmark and subduing the weaker nations has become their tradition. For them the human life of the inhabitants of the countries who revolt against their unjust policies has a very cheap value. In their quest to acquire the natural resources of the gifted countries, they aim to promote their own godless agenda in the whole word. The crimes of US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are sufficient to tell us that ‘they’ really do not care about humanity. The US and NATO alliance attacked Libya to basically rescue the citizens from the so-called tyranny of Qaddafi. Just like the US government used the pretext of WMDs for the attack on Iraq, a different reason had to be invented for the air raids on Libya. We have become so immune to the global media lies and propaganda that we failed to notice that hospitals were one of the first targets of those air attacks.
Is it time to end our romance with the “American Dream”? All hope is not lost though. Many American activists are themselves exposing the lies of the US government. We just need to realize that on the one hand there is falsehood promoted by the global media which is in the hands of elite forces, on the other hand we cannot ignore truth. The truth has become lost in the sea of lies. Though we cannot deny that we need to beware of conspiracy theories, but it is not wise to always label a truth as a conspiracy theory. Are we ready to search for the truth which is always rare?
Syed Roman Ahsan is from Pakistan and works as a freelance writer/journalist. He has also worked for many years as an executive in a Marketing Research agency catering services to FMCG firms. In these times, when Pakistan is surrounded by chaos, Roman is a peace activist and runs an email campaign to make people aware of the truth!