The America in which I grew up and lived my early adult life was a nation. Over the course of my life I have watched my country turn into a Tower of Babel. Homogeneity and shared values permitted us to understand one another. This doesn’t mean that there was uniformity or that things were perfect. A Baptist wasn’t a Catholic. A WASP was not a black laborer. A female was not a male. Blacks and poor whites had a hard time becoming middle class, but it could be done. It was possible for middle class people to become “well off,” but difficult to become rich. Immigration was controlled, and the reduction of inflows had helped the Irish and Italians to integrate into society.
Police were helpful and didn’t burst into homes with guns blazing or rough you up on traffic stops. On important issues, compromises could be reached and reforms implemented. English was the language. If you telephoned a service provider, utility, or bank, you quickly were connected to a real person capable of handling every aspect of whatever you were calling about. Today you wait through the Spanish language option for the robo-voice listing the options that might have something to do with the reason for your call. The companies save money and make profits by imposing their service costs on customers.