Nobody would dispute that America has some serious problems.
Our economy is sputtering.
We have accumulated a national debt that is roughly equal to our GDP and there is no realistic chance that the debt can be carried much further into the future. The worst part of that is that politicians continue pretending that it can be solved by some quick fix. America had a comparable debt to GDP ratio after WWII, but the situation then was vastly different. Today the dollar itself is being threatened, and the threat is being loudly ignored.
We have been involved in numerous unnecessary military adventures that have further bled the economy, destroyed our reputation as an enlightened democracy and created a cynical (or even subservient) attitude toward our government and its policies.
Many people believe that loyalty to the country somehow involves lying about the conflicts we are involved in. By lying to citizens you get stupid citizens, or rebellious ones. Why are we in Iraq? To bring democracy to the poor oppressed people? Afghanistan? etc. The truth is the truth. No matter how much an army of bureaucrats may believe it is in their personal interest to promote distortions, the truth is always the truth.
America has become one of the most pacified countries on the planet.
Dissent is allowed within very narrow parameters, but the restrictions are managed so cleverly that the population does not understand what is going on. An army of government agents, unprecedented in any comparable democracy, monitors protestors, punishes substantive dissent, regularly redefines 'liberty'. America has 5% of the world population but 25% of the world's prisoners. We have, on a per capita basis, more police of all sorts than almost any other country. Under the Orwellian guise of "fighting terrorism" and "ensuring democracy" we have hired hundreds of thousands of security police in addition to regular local police. These people have in common only that they are well paid in a poor economy, they want to be 'patriotic' but they lack the education to define patriotism for themselves and, down to the last of them, they are religiously loyal to authority.
Our politicians are utterly at the beck and call of special interests.
These special interests operate with a sophistication that goes way over the head of any regulatory body. A person with little familiarity with the process may run for president with all sincerity promising to clean things up. But once elected he learns that he really has little power.
Reckless consumerism has ravaged the natural wealth of this country.
We have exhausted to an incredible degree our natural resources and filled our environment with toxins that will outlive all of us. We have almost dried up aquifers that had existed for millions of years with no thought as to what the next generation would have. The simple concepts of balance and sustainability have been utterly sacrificed to promote the "values" of greed and consumerism. We call anything justified if it will lead to more profit, not for the average person but for those who create and influence our laws. The average person is educated to believe that he or she must defend the most powerful and wealthy, in exchange for a comfortable and secure life. It is an unsustainable house of cards that is collapsing.
We are being left with a ravaged environment, an economy that will collapse, and to the end many people retain their certainty that somehow the powerful people who created the mess in search of more and more profit will save everyone. It won't happen.