Thank you all for your thoughtful and supportive responses to my anguished confessional post. This difficult time is testing my customarily sunny disposition. I have read a good deal about alienation and written a bit about it as well, but it does not come naturally to me. It seems not to make sense for me to say that I cannot bring myself to give up on a nation I have spent my entire life criticizing. I think my current mood is powerfully influenced by my age, oddly enough. It is all very well, when one is young, to say defiantly "This is not my country! I refuse to take responsibility for it, to be embarrassed by its stupidities, to feel shame at its inhumanity." But at the end of one's life, it is hard indeed to contemplate the thought that one's sole life cycle has coincided with an historical moment that is cause only for dismay or disgust.
All of us, I imagine, recall the famous lines from William Wordsworth's poem about the French Revolution:
"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven."
What would as great a poet write about these days?