The More Things Change
The Middle American’s faith is not merely grounded upon nostalgia and emotion. He believes in a system that did work and in large measure still does; a brilliant, highly adaptable system, heir to the Enlightenment and classic democracy, with innumerable, ingenious, local accretions. But the country has become too complex and the long-hidden inequities too glaring for the system to continue without drastic changes. The Middle American’s education does not dwell upon the agonizing moral discrepancies of American history—the story of the Indians or the blacks, or the national tradition of violence. He quite sincerely rejects the charge that he is prejudiced against the blacks or callused about the poor. He cannot believe that the society he has come to accept as the best possible on earth, the order he sees as natural, contains wrongs so deeply built-in that he does not notice them. His sense of indignation is all too easily served by the fact that so many reformers have gone beyond the reform as being too slow, and are using methods ranging from rude to downright totalitarian.
Oh, that was written in 1969.