Where we have arrived as a nation is a disdain for the Government we have elected, appointed, and volunteered to be a part of. But really, is it in lousier shape than say during the Civil War? In reality, the times we are now are experiencing is a lack of cohesiveness about national identity. Resistance to taxes, the belief that the government is creating more problems than it is solving and so on are a symptom: we don't know where we are going as a nation.
In the good old days of manifest destiny, we could spread from coast to coast and there was plenty of reward to be reaped by all who were of God-fearing and descended from European stock. After the world wars, we continued our ascent through economic growth and industrial colonization. But with that came the need to underwrite favorable governments' leaders and prop them up with our military materiel and cash. And that was and is an expensive proposition particularly when you send in our troops to back up those leaders.
Our national debt has grown as a result of growing our military (roughly $800 billion per year), $$383 billion in interest on debt, and 1.3 trillion on medicare and social security.
This part of government growth we could call Intelligent Design -- simply doing God's will so that He/She would continue to bless us with greater abundance and allow us to be the great "exception". We would be the lantern that all other nations would turn toward, as heathens would turn to Jesus and our brand of Capitalism.
However fortunes favor those who have control of the economic supply chain and have lots of room for market growth--and that is no longer our strongest suit. We have to share the stage with burgeoning economies that are percolating in India and China and other places. Plus our balance of trade is badly out of whack as we continue to import more than we export (the trade deficit widened to $40.2 billion in December 2009 from $36.4 billion in November).
As corporate interests have paralleled government interests, one might question the incestuous nature of that relationship and wonder how government will evolve if the pattern continues. We have all borne witness to how the private sector has branded itself on public buildings and in government agencies. Imagine the world order if corporations are brokering deals between nations? Oh wait they are (See: World Trade Organization).
As both the left and right are becoming increasingly angered by the corporate and government pick-pocketing that they perceive happening, it stands to reason that there are two prime possible choices for the Government. Either Government reforms itself or Government represses dissonance. We will have to see how that "hopey changey thing" turns out. Of course, we have a lot to say about it.