The question of American identity has historically been both complex and contested. What’s more, it often yields mythic notions rooted in exceptionalist dogmas like election, commission, moral regeneracy, sacred land, and innocent past.
Embedded in religious American exceptionalism is the American Dream: if an individual works hard, perseveres, and is a good citizen, there is no limit to how far she can advance.
Time was when we had a neutral commons where those of us who wanted to say something could say it, try to earn people’s attention, and choose whether to give them our own. I’m speaking of course of the internet—a long decade ago, before social media swallowed it whole.
Analyzing the relationship between faith and the political left—its history and present condition—reveals a century filled with antagonisms. But there are also affinities and technologies for continuing rapprochement.
Historically there has been an undeniable antagonism between religion and communism.
In a survey the Federal Reserve Board discovered that 47 percent of Americans would not be able to pay a $400 emergency bill. Either they’d have to sell something or borrow from a family member. This comes as no surprise to writer Neal Gabler, who knows what it’s like to juggle creditors, be down to his last $5, go to the mailbox and get more bills but no checks to pay for them, and borrow money from his adult daughters when he and his wife run out of heating fuel. It’s more embarrassing to admit “financial impotence” than sexual impotence, he says. Gabler decided to speak up about his shameful experience when he realized it is happening to millions of other Americans, and not just poor ones (Atlantic, May).