"... but the thing that distinguishes American optimism from other kinds is its faith that tomorrow will be brighter than today, no matter what the facts. It's a peculiar form of magical thinking, and what makes it peculiar is its power to make the magic happen, to transform illusion into reality. Americans see the world as it is, imagine it as it could be, and make it so....I thought of Ronald Reagan declaring during the last recession, 'It's morning in America.' A realist would have looked at the country then -- suffering from double-digit unemployment and double-digit inflation, still embittered by its first lost war, humiliated by the hostage crisis and the disastrous rescue attempt in Iran -- and scoffed....Americans bought it because they wanted to believe. If you believe it, it will happen, and lo, it did."
-- Philip Caputo, The Longest Road (which is pretty dang good.)