Maybe this all started, at least in earnest, after 9/11 when George W. Bush, even as he prepared to fight "terror" -- that politically correct and historically misleading term for jihad violence -- implored Americans to get back to those shopping malls, just as if the nation could fight a war in perpetuity without ever noticing it. And so we have, so far. So vast is our "plenty" that we can send our armies across the sea to the desert and never feel it in our pocketbooks or our bellies.
Is that good? It doesn't feel good. At least, it doesn't feel real. That is, it feels strange for a nation to make war without moving to anything resembling a war footing. Saving string as our parents did during World War II isn't going to do much for the modern military, but how about the president asking Americans to avoid driving one day a week? Without any thought of sacrifice on the home front, "plenty" serves as a buffer between us and reality, and our extremely comfortable way of life serves to distract us from what it takes to maintain that extremely comfortable way of life.
Of course, the election indicates Americans were feeling something -- that things were going wrong in Iraq and elsewhere, although it is distressing that the Democrats they have empowered hold no better answers than the Republicans.
This intellectual stalemate should make this one of those winters of discontent you hear about. At least I hope it will. If such dissatisfaction goads us to think past the distractions of plenty, and face up to the difficult, politically incorrect, and uncomfortable facts of beating back global jihad, it would be something to be truly thankful for.