While the holiday marketing and promotional blitz seem to go on beyond even normal tolerance for mass marketing of things needed for “the good life,” underlying tensions in American society appear to be distracting from the Holiday Season. While most of us believe we, and possibly our families, deserve some portion of the American Dream because we have worked for it, earned it, or paid for it in some matter, our attainment, or maybe our enjoyment, of the dream appears to be interrelated with the perceptions others have about the trajectories of their lives.
Yes, even if we deserve to earn more, have more, and live better than others, we can observe from the events of the 1960’s through the Ferguson conflict and beyond, that well-earned rewards are themselves tenuously connected to the overall perceptions others also harbor about their access to well-being, justice, and equity.
I certainly do not have any answers, and I believe in working hard to attain a good life for my family and future generations. Yet, I cannot help but notice that there is more crime in some communities than others, and there are income disparities and educational achievement gaps. There are many assumptions why the aforementioned exists including that it is the natural hierarchy of things. However, I do wonder how wide hierarchical differences can be in the overall society and in specific communities before they begin to threaten our overall sense of well-being in America? Is there a tipping point when pockets of crime, disparities, and education gone awry begin to unravel significant portions of our communities? I certainly do not know. However, we can note that there are already cities that industries avoid, communities where unemployment is stagnant, and communities where youth are filled with an overall sense of dread and hopelessness.
Possibly this Holiday Season is a good time to think about what changes we need to discuss or pursue in 2015.