Finally, it is time to answer the title question: Where do we go from here?
David Simon, American author, journalist, and producer of the television show The Wire, once stated in an impromptu series of remarks, “America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are now definitely two Americas.”
Within the context of this thesis, these two Americas are (1) the purposefully propagated neoliberal and (2) those affected by the neoliberal. Within the latter America are those dissenters, both conscious and subconscious, who desire that a humane, social rhetoric of equality and dignity overcome the contrived neoliberal rhetoric of “capitalism and freedom,” for, in the neoliberal overhaul of socioeconomic politics and culture, what has been most lost in the American narrative is indeed a sense of the social. “Ultimately we abandoned that and believed in the idea of trickle-down and the idea of the market economy and the market knows best […]. People are saying I don’t need anything but my own ability to earn a profit, I’m not connected to society.”
And unfortunately, looking at the historical nature of neoliberalism, the bleak arsenal of alternative narratives, and the group on which so many leftists and radicals place hope for change—this non-generation we call millennial—, at the high noon of neoliberalism—the secret showdown between the dying embers of dissent and the powers that be—the powers that be seem to win. Thus, one of Perlstein’s melancholy alternatives turns out to be correct, and the current confused spectrum of sociopolitics is galvanized with apathy and disillusionment. The identity crisis on the left leaves it unsalvageably stuck in the status quo; the right’s anti-new age ideology leaves it operating smoothly on the popular fringes; and the incoherence of millennials paired with the rest of the population’s lacking political power creates nothing new. Thus disillusionment and status quo to an extreme degree reign supreme, and the perpetuation of neoliberalism continues to erode the American soul. “Their eyes glaze. You know they don’t want to hear it. It’s too much. Too much to contemplate the idea that the whole country might be actually connected.”