California Forum

Five opinions about the state of the American dream

Is it still possible to attain that which we desire as part of American society? Here are five viewpoints.

Josh Savino

36-year-old tourism promoter and radio talk show host in Parker, Ariz., who says he often votes Libertarian

There’s strong evidence showing an income gap. You can’t deny the middle class is being pushed down, and the majority is being funneled down to the lower class. … My parents and grandparents came from the time of pensions where loyalty was rewarded and you might stay in a job for 25 years. Now it’s a revolving door, and companies would rather spit you out than pay you more.

Lori Zwermann

32-year-old mother of three who lives near Oklahoma City and does freelance advertising work. A registered Republican, she says she often votes for Libertarian candidates

I don’t know anyone except the plant manager at my husband’s work who doesn’t live paycheck to paycheck. … I don’t think anyone truthful with themselves could deny there’s an income gap. … Whether they’re Democrat or Republican, politicians are not in tune’’ with how hard it is for people to get by.

Scott Parkhurst

64-year-old Lake Havasu, Ariz., resident who is a former Michigan state trooper and retired Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives federal special agent

I am an independent who is pro gun control, pro environment, pro choice and pro military. I have been really concerned about the direction the country has gone in during the last 10 to 15 years – leaning toward socialism and equal distribution of wealth, which is against capitalism. … I have two kids with degrees who can’t find real jobs while more and more people are just depending on government for their subsidies.

Liz Stratton

55-year-old former corporate market researcher who was camping at Elephant Butte. She lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio, and does genealogy research for pay

I typically vote Democratic because I would like to see better income distribution. … With unions losing power and virtually having no power today, it has reduced the ability of the workingman to make a living wage. ... It does seem like people are not as well off as their parents, and I don’t anticipate our kids being as well off as we are.

Tena Drinnon

57-year-old operator of a diner on wheels in Hammon, Okla., who doesn’t see the point of registering to vote

I have seven children, and I see some of them struggling to support themselves in minimum-wage jobs. … I think that the Democrats tend to benefit the poor side and the Republicans tend to benefit the upper classes. I am not sure. But the rich get more rich and the poor get more poor.

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