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American people cynical and uninvolved, says historian

Historians in the News




Nobody led.

Not the president of the United States. Not the chief executive of BP. Not Congress, federal agencies or local elected officials. From its fiery beginning, the Gulf oil spill has stood as a concentrated reminder of why, over four decades, Americans have lost faith in nearly every national institution....

"This spill, it's another blow to the body politic," says John Baick, professor of history at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. It is, he says, another excuse to be cynical and uninvolved — "exactly the opposite of what has always been the American zeitgeist, a sense that we, collectively and through our institutions, can be something greater than ourselves."...

"If people don't believe, if people don't give, if people don't trust, they will pick the politicians who are the loudest rather than the most sincere," said Baick, the history professor. "They will pick the rabble rouser rather than the technocrat who gets things done."...
Read entire article at AP

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