End of an Era
I've been reading NT Wright lately on Bible interpretation and worldview - he's been talking about worldview in terms of the dominant stories that people tell themselves within culture. It made me think of a bumper sticker I saw a few weeks ago on my drive out to Seattle (posted above).
All of my life I've heard a similar story: American Democracy is a beautiful creation, and the high point of cultural development in history. The Democracy we have today was established for us by brilliant men (probably with the benevolent aid of God), and was purchased for us and protected down through history by the blood of our fathers. The wars we've fought have been primarily about protecting this form of government for ourselves and for others. The twentieth century was a glorious ear wherein Democracy finally stood champion over it's arch enemies: fascism, socialism, and communism. The duty of all Americans today is to be thankful of those who gave their lives so we could enjoy this great gift, and to give of our efforts, money, and prayers, so that other people might also share in this marvelous institution.
That's the story I heard growing up - at school, at home, at church, and in the media. But it doesn’t seem like a story many people are telling anymore. I can't think of anyone I know, high school age or younger who responds to the Democracy story with much passion or comprehension. I think our foundational story collapsed some time in the last decade or two. I wasn’t really surprised by the bumper sticker at all, but it stick in my mind as poignant sign of the end of an era.