The background chatter is becoming increasingly loud and shockingly candid: America is facing a terminal crisis, a singular and perfect turning in its short history. Of course we can try to ignore all the talk or console ourselves with the belief that our culture, our way of life, could not fail to surmount such a challenge. And many feel that history emphatically validates this belief as they examine the record of the past. Yet the eventuality of this “long emergency” – as one fellow pilgrim has called it – will not be averted.
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