Is the Struggle Really Real For Poor Americans?

by S.A. Prince

“The struggle is real.”

I have absolutely no idea who coined that phrase, but it has become a description of the American experience. We have embraced the idea of an existence highlighted by the struggle to get ahead. It is a rite of passage couched in the American Dream.

Making it through the struggle equals success. We define each other by what we have as oppose to who we are. Thus, a person who has the luxury car, the nice house, and the flashy goodies is somebody who we feel has made it through the struggle. As a society, we are increasingly embracing materialism and consumerism instead of actual wealth.

We are interested in the look of a thing, instead of the quality. It has become about revenue instead of profit. Undoubtedly, we have put a premium on “judging a book by its cover,” and it is this shortsighted and out of context perspective leading our society into the bowels of degradation.

Is the struggle really real for poor people in America?

Many would say that the struggle to compete and get ahead is difficult in America due to economics, and I would not argue that. Economics plays a huge role in what you can and cannot do.

That being said, because we live in a consumer society, there is no connection to what it is to truly struggle. Us Americans are not struggling on the outside. Materialism makes us feel successful. You can be poor but have big screen TV’s, the nice cars, and designer clothes.

Poor Americans are not having a poor experience. It has become painstakingly obvious that being in the struggle, but not actually feeling like you are, is stunting the growth of many Americans. Assuaging has quenched our instinctual drive and desire for more. Prosperity and peace has made us fat and weak.

As the middle class continues to shrink and families fall below the poverty line, the rich get richer. But, instead of the recognizing this, we have gone from a society of the Haves and Have-Nots, to one where everybody can feel like they are a Have.

And, it is to the benefit of the rich to keep it this way. If the government and corporate America can make you feel like a Have, like you Have made it, and as though you Have achieved the American Dream, then they can continue to financially erode this country underneath your nose. In truth, they get richer as far as actual assets go, and the majority of America feels richer through consumerism and the taking on of liabilities.

Our values are displaced, because things we once had work for are now guarantees. No matter how far you fall, society will always be there to catch you. Everyone is “too big to fail.” You can equate it to the economic ideal of “No Child Left Behind.” In theory, it is admirable, but in practice, is falls well short of the mark.

Living in a society where nobody can fail, essentially also means that we live in a society where nobody can succeed. The lines have been blurred.

Hence, we are leading the next generation to death by consumption in a life led as slaves to materialism. We are raising a Selfie Generation, engrossed with self and disregarding delayed gratification.

Society is keenly designed to keep you distracted, separated from introspective thought, cognitive dissonance, and the desire to ask questions. Everything, the advertisements, the government, and entertainment are telling you that everything is okay.

None of this is OK…

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”


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