Many people do not distinguish America in the sense of the governmental regime and America in the sense of the aggregate of the people’s personal characteristics and their historical and contemporaneous accomplishments in peaceful, productive, and creative endeavors of many kinds—economic, scientific, technological, artistic, charitable, athletic, you name it. Hence comes the verbal vitriol that is spewed on those who criticize or denounce America in the former sense, embellished with the use of the hackneyed terms ‘America hater’ and ‘blame America’ to slander the critics.
But what can any decent, fair-minded person say about America in the first sense? The governmental regime in this country has been rotten from the get-go. It upheld slavery for more than seventy years and then fought a savage, unnecessary war to prevent the peaceful secession of eleven states. It slaughtered and brutalized Indians, stole their lands, denied them justice in the courts, and ultimately confined them to wretched reservations where they were treated in a way that insured their eternal subjugation and ruin there. In many states it constructed a Jim Crow system in which the freed slaves and their descendants were treated with legal contempt and subjected to institutionalized humiliation. It gained a major part of the public domain from Mexico by unjust violence and conquest. In the twentieth century, it thrust the nation into a series of unnecessary foreign wars, fought for the most part by conscripts given a ‘choice’ between imprisonment and killing people with whom they had no just personal quarrel. Its politics at every level have been pervasively corrupt. Its political economy has operated for nearly a century as a system of thoroughgoing participatory fascism, which serves to empower mendacious politicians and to enrich the politically strongest special interests. And so forth, ad infinitum.
Presented with these plain facts, the red-white-and-blue patriots sputter about how other countries are so much worse. Okay, grant that other countries might be worse (although no such case can be sustained factually across the board). So what? Should an evil regime be applauded and even, not uncommonly, loved merely because it is the lesser evil? Nothing requires us to cut slack for the lesser evil, and in fact the pervasive tendency to do so plays a large role in creating the conditions in which the U.S. regime now grows more and more evil.
Even before Benghazi, the IRS and the Department of Justice controversies started heating up, the economy had consistently taken a back seat to issues such as immigration and gun control.
“The economy is by far the most important issue for voters,” says Karlyn Bowman, a polling expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s not unusual for Washington preoccupations to be different than those of the public.”
She says that the public is skeptical that Washington can provide economic answers at this point. Politicians themselves seem a little dubious.