NEW YORK, NY -- Meet 27-year-old Joseph Bass. He's an anesthesia tech, single, and enjoys working out. He ís the son of a Pennsylvania Steelworker and Pharmacist Technician, and has one sister. But like many Americans, his thoughts on life in today's world and the War on Terror has driven his American Dreams away, only to be replaced with concerns and frustrations.
"My American Dream is to never have kids and bring them into this world. My American Dream is coming to end like everyone else's. Someday, something will happen to end it all, and it's scary," Bass said.
Now before you yell at his words and call him unpatriotic, consider this - his frustration in the world we live in today, in my opinion, can be sympathized. Americans nowadays want the GIs overseas in Iraq to come home, they want the killing of our soldiers and Marines to stop, and they want to be able to fly without the worries of another terrorist attack. But nowadays you got to keep everything in perspective, stay alert, wait in long lines at the airport, get there an hour early, get screened, not to mention scanned at every major public event. Sometimes, the thought of it all can be frustrating.
For the record, Bass did dream the dream once of having a family, enjoying life, but he said it's all over. It's about survival of the fittest. The richer get richer while the poorer get poorer.
He also said that things would probably be better if we had a change of thought on who we pick for president. "Things would be much better if we had a woman president," he asserted.
A graduate of Meadville Area Senior High School, Bass attends Syracuse University, where he hopes to one day become a doctor. During 9/11 he was not in the heart of the panic, but away in Syracuse, but he did have friends who had lost parents in the terrorist attacks. "I felt helpless, a ball of emotion all into one," he said.
And what did he think about the state of the world now?
Bass said things have changed to an extent, but mostly with security. "As far as the mentality of people go, they forget. Then they remember and want to act all USA-ish. Everyone pulled together for a while in the beginning. And now we're losing soldiers everyday in Iraq. It is unnecessary. They should have taken care of everything in the first attack."
What Bass is referring to is Gulf War I, where American forces stormed into Iraq after former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein had taken control of Kuwait.
But beyond his frustrations, he keeps it together. In a way, he has to. Being in the business of saving lives, keeping a cool head is one thing, but keeping good focus is a matter of life or death. "I've seen it all," he said. "I also think it's amazing that on Monday that someone can come to you ill on a stretcher and almost death ridden in a matter of time, and leave healthy on their own two feet."
However, all is not lost for Bass. For a guy that gets up at 5 a.m. to work out, head to work, then to school, back to the gym to work out again, and then home to study, the impact he feels he makes on people is strong in his heart. "It's a matter of life or death," he said. "One wrong move and that's it."
And even though by this story you may conclude that he doesn't dream, but his thoughts on life are more of concern for people.
"We have lost sight of what really matters; people, kids. Our world is based on glamour and glitz. I fear for the next generation and I'm only 27."
With his concerns, he adds the only positive motivation he's ever known - his parents, especially his father.
"He worked as a steelworker for 30 years. Seeing all the adversity he had to endure while working, it might as well have been slave work for what they were paying him. To this day he still goes to work, and doesn't complain. His health is deteriorated and he continues to plug and chug. He is my dad, a true American Hero. I have never told him this because he is a tough guy, but I love him more than life itself!"
So for a young man who keeps thoughts that would be considered by many as the world on his shoulders, Bass does have dreams - the dreams of a father that worked to see his son and daughter succeed in this game of life. Hopefully one day he will dream the impossible dream again.