Americans, by and large, have a fundamental need to feel like they are part of something great, above the fray and beyond the rest of the world. They are fed American exceptionalism with mother's milk, and will fight like rabid wolverines to avoid being forced to believe otherwise. Anyone mystified by the public support Bush has enjoyed until very recently, despite the endless litany of disasters that have befallen us, can look to this bone-deep need as the main reason for that support. It isn't just about 9/11. Americans need to feel good about America in the same way fish need water. Americans need to believe, and will thrash around like boated marlin if that belief is undercut. That belief serves as a kind of ideological Prozac, shoving bad thoughts to the background.
Iraq. Afghanistan. The continued freedom enjoyed by Osama bin Laden. Katrina. Abu Ghraib. Frist and insider stock trading. DeLay and a handful of indictments. Rove and Libby staring down the barrel of more indictments. Bush's approval ratings are plummeting, and the entire country is beginning to wilt under the depressing reality that we are, in fact, getting screwed with our pants on. Any conceits of moral authority being put forth by the White House and the Republican Party have been washed away in a flood of graft, death, lies and corruption.
Our supply of Prozac is running short. The belief in American excellence so desperately necessary to the mental balance of the populace is being eroded by the hour, and there will be hell to pay because of it
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I HAVE to feel good...
A friend pointed me at this quote by William Rivers Pitt: I think it hits close to home.
Although we have much to be proud of as Americans, we also have to face the fact that the majority of our citizens somehow believe we can do no wrong. It appears to take a hell of a lot of corruption, lies and plain 'ole incompetence to convince the public otherwise: