I've gone from citizen to serf. I've gone from consenting to be governed to being governed because of the state's monopoly on violence.
Oh sure, it's a very comfortable serfdom. I have (more than) enough to eat, a place to live, clothes, a car and enough money for gas, and there're books and movies and whatever. Because it's so comfortable, as long as I don't dwell on it too much, it's tolerable, and while I won't lift a finger to support this country (other than what I'm forced to do), I have no reason to damage it either.
Because it's so comfortable, I certainly understand why people roll their eyes, shake their heads, sigh, or otherwise think I'm a ridiculous fool. I seem ridiculous to me some of the time too. But being bribed by bread and circuses doesn't cause citizenship. Serfs can also be bribed to lay down their pitchforks.
I rather thought I was one of very few people who felt this lack of belonging. But apparently, it's quite widespread:
According to the Reuters survey, 58 percent Americans say they “don’t identify with what America has become.” While Republicans and Independents are the most likely to agree with this statement, even 45 percent of Democrats share this feeling.
More than half of Americans, 53 percent, say they “feel like a stranger” in their own country. A minority of Americans feel “comfortable as myself” in the country.That potentially seems like a very large problem. At his first inaugural address, John F. Kennedy admonished americans to "ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country," but for those who "feel like a stranger in their own country," it would be pointless for them to ask what they can do for their country because it's not really their country.
Without the support and consent of a solid majority of the governed, can a nation survive? Without the leadership of the United States can the world thrive?
We may find out the hard way.