Gotta say, Dan, you manifest a weird combination of adulation and contempt for all things American. i have a feeling you're one of those patriotic romantics who pine for the good old days of self-sacrifice and honor, but witness dejection all around you instead. But the seed of renaissance is within you. In fact, you are the last best hope for America and the world.
You need to make a conscious decision to get past the sludge, and to assert the goodness in your fellow citizens: remind them, insist on what they could be, and not ruminate on the low condition to which they have fallen. If you do that, I guarantee you will discover what makes America great, and be part of a movement to overturn the crime and corruption that has clearly infested us.