In the months and weeks leading up to Barack Obama's historic election as president of the United States, the only thing all Americans seemed to agree on was that the wheels had come off the vehicle of government. The Bush administration had become synonymous with ineptitude and cronyism. America was mired in a costly, unpopular war of choice. Corporate lobbying routinely trumped the people's interests. Science was ignored and climate change denied, even as New Orleans was submerged and natural disasters proliferated. Government officials spouted religious pieties while engaging in brazenly immoral and illegal behaviors. Then the housing bubble burst, the credit markets froze, stocks and 401(k)s tanked, and fears of another Great Depression no longer seemed exaggerated. Is if any wonder that Americans are anxious and distrustful?
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About the Author
Sheila Suess Kennedy (Indianapolis, IN) is professor of law and public policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis. She is the author of Distrust, American Style: Diversity and the Crisis of Public Confidence; What's a Nice Republican Girl Like Me Doing in the ACLU?; and God and Country: America in Red and Blue, among other publications.