In the pages of the NYT they are flummoxed by the quietness. Like Bob Dole, some are wondering, where's the outrage?
(See the NYT letter to the editor page, 4/3/098.)
A pundit on the Times's op ed page suggested the other day that the clue lies in the new technology that has divided us from one another, leaving us to suffer in silent isolation.
Others suggest that the Obama administration's acknowledgment of the crisis and its obvious attempts to address it has taken the sting out of the reaction.
Here's a different explanation, from David Kennedy:
Among those who were perplexed by the apparent submissiveness of the American people as the Depression descended was Franklin D. Roosevelt. “There had never been a time, the Civil War alone excepted,” an associate recollected Roosevelt saying during the 1932 presidential campaign, “When our institutions had been in such jeopardy. Repeatedly he spoke of this, saying that it was enormously puzzling to him that the ordeal of the past three years had been endured so peaceably.” That peculiar psychology, rooted in deep cultural attitudes of individualism and self-reliance, worked to block any thought of collective – i.e., political – response to the crisis. Understanding that elusive but essential American cultural characteristic goes a long way toward explaining the challenges that faced any leader seeking to broaden the powers of government to come to grips with the Depression.
Kennedy's explanation doesn't account for the occasional outbursts of domestic violence that one finds in even the most staid US history textbooks. But it nonetheless has a lot of merit.