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Playing Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4 over the weekend made me feel as if I could breathe for the first time in months, and that’s not the reaction I expected from a superhero game. It took some time before I realized why the game feels like such an oasis in a country that seems increasingly insular.

America has always been an individualistic and self-interested country, but in the past there was at least the spoken ideal of self-sacrifice and participation in a worldwide community where economic and social growth wasn’t a zero-sum game. For the past few years, however, the focus has been firmly on what America, and Americans, can get for themselves. We’re going to win, dammit, and that means everyone else has to lose. It’s a stifling worldview that rewards fear and distrust.

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