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Is the American Dream becoming a nightmare?

Observer Viewpoint | Sunday, November 7, 2004

Individualism and the opportunities given to the American people and immigrants from other countries are the great assets of this nation. These opportunities are what helped the United States in the past to become one of the greatest and most powerful nations in the world today. The dream, from dishwasher to millionaire, has been lived in this society because of individualism and the opportunities America provides not only to the rich and powerful, but to the everyday person. The shock that went through Europe with the re-election of President George W. Bush reflects to a great extent the incomprehensibility as to why the American people would vote for someone that so clearly is not in the interest of the American people, from a European perspective.

So let’s think about what, considering what the majority of the American people voted for on Tuesday, is in the interest of the American people and what Europeans, like me, tend to think about it.

Abortion: Tuesday the majority of people voted pro-life and against a woman’s right to choose. Europeans tend to support pro-choice, and considering the nice phrases the policies of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are packed in, it really seems to be a hard decision to choose either one of them without considering the realities. Killing of innocent life is simply wrong, I agree.

But criminalizing abortion will not make the phenomenon go away; rather push it in a sphere not seen by society, making control even harder.

Security: On Tuesday, the majority of the people approved the war in Iraq and Bush’s handling of the war on terror. It is hard to believe that an estimated 100,000 killed Iraqis, over 1,000 killed U.S. soldiers and numerous wounded and crippled human beings on either side have made the United States or the world a safer place or is going to win the hearts of those opposing the United States.

Economy: On Tuesday, the majority of the people approved the jobs lost in the last four years, the budget deficits and corporate giveaways. Most interesting to me are the budget deficits, because those will have to be financed by someone, and if it is not you or your parents today, it will be America’s children tomorrow.

Healthcare: On Tuesday, the majority of the people approved rising health care costs and rejected government initiated health care. From a European perspective, the health of a nation is one of its greatest assets as future generations will grow up in either a healthy or a sick society, which will in part be responsible for their productivity, and the future of the country.

Denying healthcare to people who can’t afford it raises social costs and increases the healthcare costs of those who can – right now still – afford it.

Moral Values: On Tuesday, the majority of the American people in 11 states voted to ban gay marriage on the state level, and in some cases even included civil unions, but at the same time, it is not okay to amend the constitution when it comes to the right to bear weapons.

In these terms, I can see why a shock of incomprehensibility went, and is still going, through Europe. Considering the policies supported by the majority in this country, I ask myself, is the American dream becoming a nightmare?

Guenther Huber

graduate student

Nov. 5