Amidst abundance -- we live in a nation where everything "works" if you can afford it -- our generations are defined by fear of scarcity and not promise of opportunity.
People are afraid they can't keep of hold of what they have much less what they had. This narrative runs through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Despite cost of living statistics that continuously show we live in a time of low inflation, anyone paying attention knows that the metrics don't hold up to reality.
This doesn't prevent Republican and Democratic elected officials from fiercely competing views or battles over the appropriate role and size of government to deliver a better future.
The growing income disparity shows that at least the top half of one percent'ers have cemented their relative gains: destroying the capacity of government to do anything, really, so wealth creation -- on their own terms -- will never be impacted by scarcity.
These thoughts may have been in the back of former president Jimmy Carter's mind when he recently told a private audience in Germany that the United States "is no longer a functioning democracy". That statement was meant to shock and it should shock (although Carter has gone silent since the Der Spiegel report).
No political party has won the hearts of voters by beating the drums of dismal decline. No one knows this better than Jimmy Carter whose re-election may have been doomed by his pointing out the moral corruption of fossil-fuel based economic policies.
Conversely, tapping public anxieties and fear is a successful tactic of baiting voters. Along those lines, the parties do separate. The message machinery of the radical GOP right has cultivated the notion among voters -- mostly keenly represented by the amorphous Tea Party through corporate funders like the Koch brother billionaires -- that government is the problem, not scarcity. For their part, Democrats struggle to prove that stripped-down functions of government can still deliver the promise of the social contract and protection of the public commons.
It is said that history is what historians agree upon. With climate change impacts knocking on the door, it is not going to be possible to mask the transition of the American promise. Scarcity and the costs of sea level rise and food shortages will begin to be strongly felt by the end of this century, forcing decisions that will require the full utilization of the national security state. It is likely that Republican leaders are fully aware of this dismal scenario; how else to explain the fortifications they have built against change? For their part, Democrats seem less organized, operating from the premise that a rising tide lifts all ships without being able to articulate how fairness and equity is the only insurance against mean days ahead.