Attention is focused on how much the two main political parties have been driven to hate each other, egged on by the media. To me the horror is the generally accepted feeling in America that government is evil.
As in the days of Margaret Thatcher there is "a feeling of helplessness, that a once great nation has somehow fallen behind."
Many feel that way, though there are still plenty around shouting we are the greatest nation in the world. Remember those bumper stickers about "The Power of Pride." I couldn't get out of my mind the thought that pride comes before a fall, a Biblical verse.
Perhaps the idea of our invulnerability was a good thing to get us through what appeared to be the end of days.
As for the government, there are plenty of reasons to mistrust it. Unwanted and unjustified wars are enough on their own.
Yet, there has been a constant flow of examples of corporate corruption, worse even than the trust-breaking days of Teddy Roosevelt. Banks are sitting on money the government lent them, holding back our economy. Home owners who were tricked into borrowing more money than their homes were worth are still being sent out on to the streets.
The rich dominate both houses of Congress. But they aren't the government, they are merely interlopers who have stolen our democracy.
Economists have written that with our government rendered impotent we simply do not have the strength to turn things around. The debt from the wars, the handing back of tax money to the rich, underfunding Social Security, make it difficult if not impossible, to lift ourselves up by our bootstraps.
Depressing as it is, it is no worse than what Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced. The answer is staring us in the face: A huge, nationwide rebuilding program. Instead of spending the money on Afghanistan, let's rebuild our own country.
There are two things unlike than the Depression FDR faced down. One, the attack on the motherland. It traumatized the nation. My mother, before she died, insisted it was not nearly as bad as Pearl Harbor.
Also dissimilar, is the lack of solidarity. Perhaps because too many people are doing too well.
And the media bears a huge responsibility. The last election turned on fears created among seniors that somehow or other helping others with their medical care and other basic expenses would cost them the benefits they had earned.
If our government doesn't work it is our fault.