It’s still our most favorite idea, the thing our own childlike president loves to talk most about, burned into our national consciousness like a bad tattoo: We always win. We’re the good guys. We’re the chosen ones. We’re the goddamn cavalry, flying the flag of truth, wrapped in strip malls and Ford pickups and McDonald’s franchises. Right?
Wrong. If Vietnam’s aftermath proved anything, it’s that we are incredibly crappy losers. We deny, we reject, we evade and ignore and refuse responsibility until it becomes so silly and surreal even the staunchest warmonger has to cringe in embarrassment. At this point, it seems nearly impossible for America to accept defeat with anything resembling perspective and dignity and the understanding that maybe, just maybe, we ain’t all that saintly and ain’t all that perfect and maybe God really isn’t necessarily on our side after all, because if God took sides she wouldn’t actually be, you know, God.