I’ve heard many say the 2016 presidential election is the most important one they can recall in a lifetime.  Why are so many individuals saying that?  Without articulating it, I believe a score of people believe the very existence of the United States is at stake.  Many believe “The American Dream” is threatened.  Hundreds of elections have been held through the annals of time, so what makes this one so different?  Simply put, I believe 2016 will go down in history as a national referendum on socialism versus capitalism and many believe whoever the winner is the country will either wither or bloom once more.

An estimated 100 million Americans watched the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Both candidates have extremely poor approval ratings, some speculate the lowest in history, so why is this election so important when so many distrust these individuals?

Dissatisfaction in the electorate, at an all-time high, may explain why.

Donald Trump, a capitalist, claims he’ll make America great again and explained how he’d accomplish that during the debate.  Hillary Clinton, a liberal, is of the opinion more socialism is best.  During the debate she said she would excessively tax the rich.  How does one define what rich is?  I may be one of modest means, but I’m an American who cherishes freedom and that indeed makes me a rich soul.  The American Dream can be defined by many things, but prosperity is most certainly at the top of the list.  Hillary Clinton, by making that statement, is essentially saying she wants to attack the American Dream and penalize those who live it.  I see failure in that type of logic.

The Nation’s 20 trillion dollars in debt and a record number of Americans are on disability and food stamps now – I find that frightening.

Public perception used to be it was shameful to be on welfare or food stamps, but financial mediocrity doesn’t seem all-that-unusual anymore.  Has the American Dream been overhauled?

Is a mediocre pursuit of happiness the new norm for Americans?

Is trifleness a new low when it comes to education too?  Is it to be expected that half of all college grads can’t find work even though they’ve spent thousands of dollars, and went in debt to do so, to obtain a degree that may or may not suffice anymore?

What does it say about our culture when Rutgers University offers a course in “Underwater basket weaving,” that Montclair State University offers a class titled “How to watch television,” or that Occidental College offers credits for attending a course called “Stupidity?”

Society has fallen prey to a progressively bent logic, which isn’t really progressive at all but regressive.

Many have failed to recognize the socialist plight that plagues us.

For many Americans it’s not in their DNA to do just enough to get by.  Yet for many more they see life as mediocre at best and the entitlement stigma they feel they deserve has attached itself.  For many, to just exist in life is fine and it can become a reality if they only relent to the entangling dependence government offers.

With what we see manifesting itself in Washington, D.C. one can only conclude that mediocrity is the new norm – if that’s so, the American Dream is dead.  However, I believe there are scores of those who won’t allow that idealization of what America is to just go away.

The American Dream imparts that hard work and determination isn’t some novelty and success can be accomplished by anyone.  American Pride resides in many, still, and to embrace an ideology that’s counterintuitive to that is something that will be pushed back by those who wanna dream.

America is truly an astonishing place and although she may have lost her way that fair Lady has by no means doused that flame of liberty in a muddied pond of hopelessness.

Socialism or Capitalism?  Mediocrity or Prosperity?  It’ll be interesting to see who walks away with all the marbles come November.

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org.

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