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THE DESPERATE AMERICAN

A Manifesto

By Bernadette Greene

We the people are no more. We have failed ourselves and our country. It is your fault and mine. What happens henceforth remains to be seen.

We are desperate to be faster and smarter, skinnier and prettier, funnier and more successful than everyone else. We are desperately trying to find any job or find a better job. We are desperately trying to avoid collectors’ phone calls and to fix our over-priced cars and our sub-par credit. We desperately refinance or foreclose on homes we can’t afford. We desperately struggle with outrageous medical bills and overseas customer service reps. We desperately escape into other people’s lives on TV while we desperately divest ourselves of any responsibility for our well being, or others’. We desperately descend into depression and divorce, drugs and debauchery. We desperately cheat, lie and steal on our taxes and our lovers. We are Americans and we are desperate.

Section I: Don’t Shoot the Messenger

I discovered long ago that if the person across from you isn’t credible, interesting and approachable, there’s no way in hell you will: A) Want to have a conversation with them; B) Listen to a word they say; or C) Seriously even consider their opinion. And we all know what they say about opinions, so why should you listen to mine?

I’m a twice-married white woman raised in a mid-western Catholic household. My Irish-American father is a life-long member of the NRA and a proud Vietnam Veteran. He was also a unionized railroad worker for two and a half decades. My mother is a Hungarian immigrant that came to America (legally) in 1956 at age ten. She learned English quickly and believed that America was the land of opportunity and that voting was a solemn duty. She worked two jobs and put herself through nursing school while my dad was laid off. They both voted for Reagan. They both voted for Obama. My late uncle was a homosexual doctor that died of AIDS and my only brother-in-law is serving life in prison.

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