Ed at GinAndTacos points out the discrepancy between our self-image as a country of greatness and the sad, declining state of our infrastructure:
It never fails to amaze me how easily most Americans can reconcile our wealth and self appointed greatest-country-ever status with the overall shabbiness of so much of their surroundings – the collapsing bridges, the antique power grid, the slowest-in-the-Western-world broadband internet infrastructure, the 19th Century rail system, the two generations old cellular network, the old (and increasingly privatized) water supply, and so on….
A summer power outage is neither unprecedented nor unexpected, but it is a very visible reminder of the way that our country as a whole is starting to reflect the saddest aspects of its crumbling cities – the sense that this place was shiny and new in the 1940s and 1950s and it has been all downhill since then. We used to be able to handle ideas like massive government projects (rural electrification, the Interstate Highway System, etc.) to improve our standard of living. Now we sit around waiting for Private Sector Santa to save us; he never quite gets around to it….