As I continue to convalesce, I wander back and forth between tv, reading blogs, and reading Sarah Vowell's book on the Puritans. Oh, and typing with one arm in the Continuous Passive Motion machine.
But while reading her book, I was struck by her discussion about the early sense of divine exceptionalism, and the basis for that exceptionalism. Puritans found God's blessing in the disease outbreaks that devastated native populations. "God has blessed America" is rooted in seeing epidemics as God blessing the Europeans by killing the heathen.
When Sarah Palin invokes returning to some "traditional past" she isn't cheering the smallpox epidemics directly, of course, but the entire idea is premised in returning to a time when Euro-Americans were at the center of the universe.