Of Bishops and Redskins

Is the United States of America a nation?  By chance, I went to see the new Kevin Costner film, Dances With Wolves, on the same day as the American Catholic bishops were resolving to instruct President Bush in his conduct of U.

Issue: Spring 1991

Is the United States of America a nation?  By chance, I went to see the new Kevin Costner film, Dances With Wolves, on the same day as the American Catholic bishops were resolving to instruct President Bush in his conduct of U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf, and it struck me that there is a connection between these two manifestations of moralizing.  Neither addresses directly the question of American nationhood, but both adopt a point of view which is at once typically American and in opposition to any specifically American approach to the world.  And there is some truth in the idea that, if we are a nation, we are a nation of non-nationalists.

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