In his recent call for a bill to introduce universal healthcare legislation, Bernie Sanders said “This is a pivotal moment in American history. Do we, as a nation, join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee comprehensive health care to every person as a human right?….”
Let’s be clear about one thing. We have no idea if we are living in a pivotal moment of American history. Every generation believes that they are living in the most important moment in human history. This is why we need historians. They will help us sort it out. But they will not be able to do so until enough time passes to get some perspective.
When a present-day politician says that “this is a pivotal moment in American history” it is just as bad as the politicians who talk about the right and wrong side of history or say that we have “the most dangerous president in American history.” These kinds of statements are political, not historical.