Last week, giant symbols of American economic might were collapsing like a house of cards.First,GM is said to be close to declaring bankruptcy according to Goldman Sachs.Its stock is now worth less than that of CVS Pharmacy.It would be hard to underestimate the psychological and financial and social damage GM’s collapse represents to the American psyche.The car,the highways and the freedom they represented to Americans were unique in the history of the world.Much of America’s image of itself has been derived from the mythology of freedom car ownership represented.

As that image crashes and burns,it seems that every other symbol of American life either is just ahead or behind the car industry’s travails.The housing industry, which in its own way represented another symbol of the American Dream, is now a  wasteland beset by problems of such magnitude that the Dream has now turned into a nightmare.Fannie Mae and Fredie Mac which are Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE’s) are crucial to the financial system because they pretty well underwrite over half the mortgages in this country.As the real nature of their dire straits makes its way into the headlines,it is becoming clear that the veneer of prosperity this country has come to expect is peeling away to reveal a sordid base.

In the Soviet Union, stripped of the American boasts of prosperity,sex, freedom and all the rest,the citizens had become so thoroughly disillusioned that they never expected anything from the system.That probably saved the people when the system crumbled.

In the American context, the facts are reversed.The barrage of propaganda over the past fifty odd years, has converted the population to an uncritical and unthinking blob of humanity that thinks that if you are an American you are exempt from the usual rules that govern human conduct.Bush is the prime exemplar of this attitude.So, when the main symbols that Americans have come to rely on to give them an anchor crumble they have nowhere to turn.It is as though a cruel joke has been perpetrated on them for a long time and Bush has been chosen as the messenger of the apocalypse to come.

It is time to shed our illusions and join the rest of humanity as equals and not as people who can do pretty much what we want and expect to be respected much less loved.

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