In some words, Innocence lost.
The country after WWII began an economic boom and became a superpower. Citizens must have thought that America had arrived at the place it was destined to be and life would remain that way for eternity.
Who would blame anyone for thinking that?
But in reality, the country and its citizens were tested again during the 1960’s and 70’s and failed. Counterculture protests of civil disobedience were met with scorn, civil rights protests burned through the South together with a long war and the country has never recovered identity-wise. It has left people remembering fondly the years after WWII and longing for a return to those years, which will never return. Ask 10 different people today about the U.S. and they will all say its the greatest country in the world. Ask the same people why and they will all give different reasons divided by political ideologies and different approaches of what is ailing the country and the solution.
Nowadays, it isn’t glamorous anymore to be American. Ask anyone where they are from and they will state their ethnic heritage or the origins of their mother and father, finally merely acknowledging that they are American.
Is something wrong with them?
No, but it is an identity crisis in the country that is slowly fracturing it from the inside out. Young and old Americans have forgotten the main reason why the U.S. was created at all, i.e. the “Why”. Basically, people wanted to live and build their own lives but to a greater extent, they all understood that to protect that claim, they had to agree to be governed and uphold the values and other beliefs which led to them wanting to build their own lives. Laws are made by men and men make mistakes so these reasons aren’t found in laws and in the Constitution of the U.S. It is found in the Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers understood that human rights must be protected and upheld and for a group of persons to decide on these issues, a representative government must be formed in place of those decisions to be placed on one person (a King or Queen). Above all ideologies, ethnicities, economies or influences, this principle was to be followed always:
America as a nation has always had a citizenry that was divided along geographic, social and economic lines so that will never change. There has always and will eternally continue to be debate on every issue. But the citizenry has been bribed in a sense, through the promise of low taxes by candidates and have allowed legislators to mishandle progress of the nation. The citizenry through that bribe has become ignorant on issues, only listening to election ads, party-driven news outlets (MSNBC, Fox News) and has been satisfied with that viewpoint. Also, after WWII, the citizenry began to look more to one person (The President) and to Federal, State or local governments to solve the nation’s problems (Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush). This is too much responsibility for one person or one body to have and it has lead to abuse of power, corrupt practices and incremental decisions which have had little or no effect. Look also to the lowest approval ratings of the Congress and the lowest productivity levels by the Congress in creating laws. What it has caused is a power struggle claim by the Republican and Democrat parties for the Presidency to take advantage of this fact. The quest to gain this advantage during elections has led each side to divide the citizenry with scare tactics towards the other party which has embittered and divided each side even further. Note the documentary “Patriocracy” that shows this alarming trend.
Can America rebound from this? Probably not. The divisions are too deep and the ideals from the Revolutionary War are a far off memory for most. A new national identity or a new vision statement must be redefined but only reversing many of the above trends. It will take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledging tough realities.