by Frank Li
With the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the subject of American Dreams (e.g. what is your American Dream?) and, more importantly, to expand it to a new horizon: is your American Dream good for America?
Personally, coming to America in 1985 was a dream come true for me (i.e. a Chinese Dream then). Since then I have realized my own American dream: to achieve modest financial independence and then do whatever I want (e.g. writing on politics). Sweet!Unfortunately, there are many bad American Dreams too. Here are two examples: (1) owning a house bigger than you can actually afford, and (2) spending much more money than you actually have, both personally and as a country, and it has finally caught up. Sour!
More profoundly, while “realizing my own American Dream” is almost always a good thing for the person himself or herself, is it good for America? Here is an extreme example: Many people around the world cheered after Barack Obama was elected as the first black American President, as a real, modern-day, pinnacle example of an American Dream come true. But has President Obama been good for America? I think not. Here is one interesting perspective: Obama’s Legacy: A Failed Recovery & Double-Dip Recession.
Now, let’s move from race to gender in the face of political correctness. Sarah Palin might have realized her own American Dream of becoming rich and famous, as a direct result of being the running mate of John McCain in 2008. But was she good enough to be just one heartbeat away from an American President? Next, enter Michele Bachmann – She knocked Tim Pawlenty out of the race after the straw poll in Iowa, which again proved this: American democracy is not a serious business, not even as serious as American Idol! Michele, prove yourself as a governor first before dreaming of becoming the President! Study some economics first before making such unintelligent promises as $2/gallon gas! Stop mixing religion with politics by making such jokes as “Irene is God’s message for Washington”!
Bluntly, neither the Obama dream nor the Palin/Bachmann dreams would have had any chance in China, because of its more stringent requirements for the top political offices. This is a key reason behind China’s rise and America’s decline over the past decade. Overall, the Chinese system has simply outperformed America’s antiquated system, exposing some foundational flaws in America’s political system for the first time ever in America’s history.
Fundamentally, the right order of priorities for our politicians should be (1) country first, (2) constituents next, and (3) personal agendas last. But most, if not all, of our politicians have their priorities reversed. Why? It’s the political system, stupid – Our system not only allows it, but also enables it! How long must we continue to live with Congress with a disapproval rating of 87% before changing the system? How much more can we put up with an inexperienced and incompetent President before raising the statutory requirements?
Unless we change soon, there will not be many sweet American Dreams, neither left nor to pursue, on the way to 2030, when China will surpass America as the largest economy!
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder & President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action. Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called “a modern-day Thomas Jefferson” (see page 31).