You know one of the things that I am thoroughly sick of is my neighbor's strongly held belief the "goodness of mainstreet America".
I cannot think of a shred of evidence to support this claim.
What brought this all up is a conversation held in my carpool yesterday morning. My moron carpooler asked what I thought about Reiki, when I responded that there may well be something to it that it appears to have some positive benefits and no seeming harm, she became indignant.
You see according to her, Reiki is a form of Satanism. She then went through and vented for a while on the ungodliness of America to allow such things to be taught.
In a way she is my touchstone of what it takes to be an American. Our way is the best, we only need to become the fine folks that our forefathers were. Proof of your goodness lies in your wealth. You know, an American. Her houses are underwater and she struggles with paying the bills. Her husband hasn't had a job for two+ years. She complains because the folks who manage her four timeshares are indignant because she hasn't paid them.
Look here folks all of us are surrounded by folks who just can't seem to manage to think things through. These folks make up the bulk of the US population. So, if a majority of the population is a bunch of fools who cannot take the time to pay attention to the world around them and who lash out blindly at anything that doesn't fit their mass-produced, self-aggrandizing self images, can we call such a population good?
We are an odd culture, with our behaviors and our actions wildly divergent from our pronounced ideals. But the blogs that we read and the beliefs that we espouse all seem to come back to the belief that "The American People", if they are just allowed to make the choice, would set things to right and drive out the evil cabal who is doing bad things.
More and more, I am coming to the conclusion that the leadership in Washington is a true and accurate representation of the beliefs and views of the populace. The fiscal bankruptcy we are seeing is a true reflection of the crazed and needy desires of "The American People". The increasingly draconian and intrusive machinations of a security apparatus the earnest manifestation of the desires of the majority of the populace to repress anything different than their self-image.
I am not at all certain that a mature culture can be built out of such material. I don't have any idea of what to try next, but I am becoming increasingly convinced that democracy is a poor substitute for a republic.