IN EVERY nation in every era, people come to grips with the meaning of their existence. They try to understand their moment in the web of history. In time of war, that is an easy question to answer. In time of peace it can be more difficult. Introspection does not sit well with Americans. It is much easier to accept the logic of the late Henry Luce, who proclaimed this was "the American Century."
Many economists have pointed out that our generation will not be as well off as our parents' was. For young people, who want to follow their parents' footsteps, new economics are especially cruel. Some economists have called their abrupt decline an "economic freefall."
If you live in certain parts of the country you gain a palpable sense of America's downhill slide by watching education suffer. . . .
Plain and simple, America is poorer that it was when our parents were raising their children.
Material circumstances and national purpose are two different things, and that is what America is struggling with. It is easy to find one's purpose in time of war. The gulf war did that. But the war was a deception. We are a nation that builds marvelous weapons systems but cannot educate our children.