Just finished reading The New Vichy Syndrome; interesting book. Found a lot of 'This requires thought' stuff in it, but- especially with the way Obama and the leftists have been working overtime to crap on this country- this passage from the end especially caught my attention:
A combination of loss of power and historiographical miserabilism leave a society in poor condition to maintain its social fabric. On the face of it, the history of the United States is less susceptible to a miserabilist interpretation than that of most countries. But miserabilism is never compelled by the evidence alone, and intellectual ingenuity can always descry the cloudy in any silver lining. America could be described as a state founded first on genocide and then on slave-owning hypocrisy, that subsequently appropriated half of Mexico, etc., etc. Grievance-mongers can project their current discontents backwards and easily demonstrate that America has been a paradise for racists, exists, persecutors of homosexuals, etc. Corruption has always been rife in it, jobbing politicians have always led the population by the nose. Even the disillusionment that will inevitably follow the euphoria of Mr. Obama's election will be grist to the miserabilist mill.
This is not, of course, to call for an equal and opposite historiography, in which there is nothing but a glorious upward ascent and everything American is best. One of the dangers of this kind of historiography is that, when disillusionment comes, it is total. And such a disillusionment is particularly strong when the pride in power, with which it is often associated, receives the unpleasant shock that the power has evaporated.
Rather, a defense of all that is best, and of all the achievement, in American history is necessary. That is why the outcome of the so-called culture wars in America is so important to its future. A healthy modern society must know how to remain the same as well as change, to conserve as well as to reform. Europe has changed without knowing how to conserve: that is its tragedy.
As to the disillusionment mentioned: I've listened to/read the various comments of people dealing with that; "He's not as good on civil rights as I'd hoped/didn't end the war/didn't hang bankers/didn't go far enough left" and so on. And you probably know just what their claimed 'reasons' for these problems are: it's America's fault. 'The Republicans wouldn't let him/the staff let the bankers buy them/he couldn't overcome the racism of this country' and on and fucking on. Point out that you said, way back when, that he was exactly the kind of politician he's shown himself to be, and you're either ignored or called stupid and/or bigoted. They've got so much tied up in believing in him, in what they wanted/believed him to be, that many- maybe most- are not capable of saying "He conned us, he's not The Lightworker after all!" Some have so much tied up in him it might actually destroy them to do so.
Which is what comes of worshiping politicians.