A faded American pride
Here is my sense; like all empires before it this American one reached its apex after WWII. It's on a downward trajectory and will eventually fall or be overtaken.
And I believe most Americans will be taken by surprise as in "How could this happen"?
That's because most Americans are in the words of Paul Craig Roberts "insouciant", without a care, too passively indifferent, too besotted with technological gadgetry, have feelings of entitlement and believe in American exceptionalism to bother to notice their government has become sinister-which most others in the world recognize, but their governments too intimidated or blackmailed into following us or they will be demonized. Think Iran, Iraq under Saddam-though earlier an ally in his war with Iran in the 80's-now the newly announced new cold war with Russia and soon to be China.
As for us Americans take an honest look at what passes for our modern American "culture" nowadays-and contributes to maintaining domestic tranquility at all costs. In no particular order:
Consumerism-excessive and beyond all need. And in conjunction with it
Corporatism and commercialization of the public square i.e. the "mallization" of America.
Sports mania, particularly over Pro football and its marketing.
Popular movies featuring gore, crashes, mayhem, aliens, illusion, "virtual" characters replacing real people.
Celebrity gossip as "news".
Government surveillance by way of technological gadgetry-cell phones, ipods, computers, email, GPS, EZ pass, toll cameras.
MSM becoming complicit in government actions and its propaganda
Addiction with drugs and alcohol
Incarceration-the highest rates of all 1 st world industrialized democracies.