I’ve come to the point of struggling to hold on to a working image of the US of A as a viable political entity. A major, defining characteristic of our national consciousness, for me at least, has been confidence in shared decency. Yes, the politicians are crooks, the corporations are exploiting workers, the unions are trying to destroy businesses, and the crazies (choose from the list) are destroying society. But Mr. Smith can still get to Washington and common sense will, more or less, prevail. Most people mean well, even if they are a little crazy, and the national politicians mouth the old platitudes but those are the symbols of shared ideas. And shared ideas can be adjusted when there are enough other shared ideas, however tattered, to maintain the illusion of basic unity.
I think that has been lost. This is very much about a story that we are all listening to, with good and bad characters, disaster and success, but we must all maintain our suspension of disbelief in the illusion. Just as an awkward error can destroy the literary illusion and make the book suddenly unreadable forcing us to put it down, I’m very afraid that has finally happened to the American illusion of the city on the hill. The jig is up. There is no longer a ‘there’, there. A significant minority of the population is living in a different illusion and a critical threshold linking the illusions has been crossed severing them. I don’t think we can get it back. . .