McMillan’s comments give away his political self-interest, of course, but they at least confronted the fact that we largely brought our woes upon ourselves by living beyond our means. The 1 percent in government and business may have made our bed, but we slept in it, happily dreaming the impossible, and now we refuse to shake off our delusional slumber. The Federal Reserve and the lending institutions sold us houses at 3 percent interest and no money down, but we bought them.
American exceptionalism and privilege are crashing down around us, but these protest groups—like the vast majority of Americans—refuse to reconcile themselves to this new, hostile reality. The world will move on without us; we are no longer the indispensable nation. Once we accept that fact, we can get down to the difficult business of becoming a normal country. Until then, Occupiers and Tea Partiers will remain little more than petulant children crying over the spilled milk of the American empire.