it is funny how current experiences can randomly conspire to focus our attention on particular times of the past. The Wikileaks story reminds me of the Pentagon Papers, and I am also reading Keith Richards biography that reflects a lot on that same late '60s early '70s period.
These days it is easier than ever to think the USA is worse off than ever before. Here is a list of five times since WWII that I would argue were even worse:
Through these were broader ongoing negative narratives like the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and the 70s oil crisis.
Sure things are bad now -- but I would argue that we are a long way from the worst time ever. The one thing that makes our current situation seem so dire is another year: 1989. The difference between all of those bad years listed and now is that back then we did not view ourselves as the undisputed sole superpower.
Could it be that the fall of the Soviet Union and our ascendance to the top of the heap has put us at an altitude where the thought of a fall is more than we can bear?