As a youth in the 1960's, I developed a rather naïve impression of my fellow human beings. Television and newspapers painted a "wholesome" image of the American middleclass, of which I was surrounded by, and a part of. This was typified by the television program, Leave it to Beaver. It went with little saying, and seemed to hold true that if one accepted and practiced American values, life would be splendid. Though I was unaware at the time, in retrospect, I realize that I was young, inexperienced, and privileged.
Upon entering college in the 1970's, my perception began to change. The sanitized media that I was raised on, was replaced by the works of people like Jerry Rubin, Sinclair Lewis, films by Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick, and the plays of Eugene O'Neill and Edward Albee, specifically Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf. Over the course of many years I was privy to the experience of many people who had participated in and made history. I read many books. I came to the understanding that virtually all of the American heroes, and specifically politicians that I idolized as a youth, had another side, often dark, to their makeup. At some point I concluded that it was the role of government to keep this component of human nature in check, while nurturing, and not inhibiting, the positive and creative facets of human nature. And America the country, as many have noted including Lincoln; though imperfect- like the people that comprise our country- is the best political system to serve human beings and reach this end.
In October 2013, Tea Party Republicans shut down the American government to actualize their core principle that government is the enemy, and government hurts people and takes away freedoms. Quite the contrary, prior to the shutdown, it was the experience of most Americans, that when government is running smoothly and unimpeded by a radical minority, they hardly notice that it is there. The government shutdown did create a stark realization for many on how important the government is in their lives.
It appears that most people that have a great problem with all government- have a ulterior motive such as the acquisition of political power as in the case of the Tea Party- or more generally are people driven by their dark side- and seek to "buck" or "game" the system, practice fraud or theft, and remain immune from accountability and responsibility. This truth is forever etched in American history. Without the American government, after the great financial crash of 2008, unregulated capitalism would have destroyed itself.