Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Rage That Is Coming

Richard Cohen writes in the WaPO:

So now, at least in Saturday's New York Times, we are in a depression -- maybe not a "great" one, but one that will do for now. This means that unemployment could go over 10 percent and that the housing catastrophe will deepen and that some major banks will become wards of the government. Europe is scared, Japan is sullen, and Russia, which needs $70 oil to break even, is hurting at near $40. This is a very bad time.

A depression, if it amounts to that, is not just an economic crisis. It's a historical mugging. Those of us who have been accustomed to exercising control over our lives are about to undergo an awfully frightening experience.

And then Cohen speaks of the rage that is coming:

The rage that is coming will change the politics of our time. Barack Obama will either figure out how to channel it, as Franklin D. Roosevelt did, or he will be flattened by it, as Lyndon Johnson was. Obama's challenge might even be greater than FDR's. The people of the 1920s and '30s were tough, hard. They did not expect all that much from life, and they had learned to expect next to nothing from government.

In contrast, we are soft, coddled. We actually thought that we could have a house we could not afford and a mortgage that we could not pay and that it would all somehow work out. This keeps being called the American dream. It was actually the American delusion.

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