Although there is a great deal of commentary about the end of the 1990s moment, and about America’s return to history, in fact the threats from abroad to the American inheritance are still eminently manageable or remote. And so, perhaps from the conflict of the Gingrich Congress with the Clinton presidency until now, Americans have been able to indulge their rivalries and jealousies of one another. We preoccupy ourselves with plotting at home. Our power and prestige is such that our debates are often exported almost immediately to other parts of the world.
Progressives and conservatives have used the levers at hand to break up and derationalize their opponents’ strongholds in different facets of American life.
And so the gritty reboot of impeachment in my lifetime has me feeling nostalgic for the period of time in which I’ve lived most of my life. These rivalries feel decadent because they are decadent. That doesn’t meant they aren’t real. And aren’t really damaging. But our refusal to conciliate among ourselves is a sign of our spoiled adolescence. And while nearly everyone wants to rush toward the exits of this era, I worry that the only way out is through a national tragedy or event none of us should desire to see.