I am old enough to be a little concerned when my new haircut makes me look like an aging Ulrike Meinhof, to remember the fear of a global war when Russia entered Afghanistan, and to have drawn a sigh of relief with the relaxation of the cold fronts between the nuclear powers. But in all of this time the US was a place of continuous progress. It might not always have been a progress I was comfortable with or agreed on - I have always avoided American style fast-food joints when possible - but I thought of it as a nation at least trying to make life better for others.
Then came the election of Bush in 2000. I was in the States at the time, a visiting scholar at the NYU, and heard the professors speak about the voter failures, particularly in the black neighbourhoods, where whole sacks of registration forms were lost. Later came professor Johan Galtung's assessment of the American society. Now, umair haque's article on the American Collapse.
I thought my belief in the US had fallen with the Norwegian author Jens Bjørneboe's book "We who loved America" (in Norwegian), a collection of essays on American war crimes and the prosecution of intellectuals in the Soviet Union, but it hasn't been until the last few years that I realised I still thought of the US as a nation where the society tried to make life better for all who lived there. A progress at least vaguely aimed at the good of human kind.
I still love my US friends - now perhaps more than ever, as so many of them think, breathe, speak and act on a resistance to the collapse - but my optimism on behalf of the system has been lost. I am now reaching for Galtung to understand what is going on. And listening to a younger generation, who have walked into the world we made for them with their eyes open.