The problem is the nature of American culture as it has evolved over the last fifty years. That has worsened a bad situation. We have a culture built on genocide and slavery that attempted to make a fresh start on Enlightenment principles in 1776. But very few people understood what those principles were and began destroying them immediately. At the same time no admission was ever made to the genocide that was fully adopted by the new state.
The physicalist world view that resulted solved those older problems by ignoring them and claiming the European divine right of kings for the people. That is where the twisted concept of ‘exceptionalism’ came from, I think. It was the right to kill and enslave in the name of the people whom god approved.
I grew up with this in the 1950s but don’t remember exceptionalism. We were different but only because we stood for and had done the right thing in great wars. I watched the distortion evolving in the cold war. We were better because we were chosen not because we did the right thing. That is a hell of a difference.You can’t do wrong if you are chosen.
And I’m becoming more and more concerned with how we are beginning to identify our earlier error, that everything but us is dead and inert. This carries the incredible weight of four hundred years of karmic responsibility for the destruction of people, their worlds, and their land. We have not made any effort to re-balance that.
A vital and living universe that acts in response to us is a karmic universe. Suddenly we need to deal with distortions of the fabric of our universe that are more complex than simple gravity. Because of past actions we are living in a deepening hole in America that takes more and more energy to move out of. A kind of moral gravity well.
We may be too deep to escape.