Revisiting the Round Table: Arthur’s American Dream

  • Susan Aronstein
Part of the Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures book series (SACC)


On October 3, 1991, as The Fisher King played in theaters across America, William Jefferson Clinton stood on the steps of the Old State House in Little Rock, Arkansas and announced his candidacy for the 1992 presidential election, echoing the rhetoric of Gilliam’s film: “For twelve years, the Republicans have been telling us that America’s problems aren’t their problems. They have washed their hands of responsibility for the economy and education and health care and social policy,” serving “the rich and special interests. … The results have been devastating: record numbers of people without jobs, schools that are failing (and) millions with inadequate health care.”1 For Clinton, as for Gilliam (and, later, the writers of Black Knight), the key to restoring this wasteland that Reagan-Bush had wrought lay in community and responsibility. “If,” he argued, “we have no sense of community, the American Dream will continue to wither. Our destiny is bound up with the destiny of every other American. We’re all in this together. … We can usher in a new era of progress, responsibility, renewal. … Together we can make America great again, and build a community of hope that will inspire the world.”2


Foreign Policy Round Table Global Alliance Personal Desire American Foreign Policy 
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  1. 1.
    Governor Bill Clinton and Senator Al Gore, Putting People First: How We Can All Change America (New York: Times Books, 1992), pp. 190, vii.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Stanley B. Greenberg, Middle Class Dreams: The Politics and Power of the New American Majority rev. ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996) p. 150.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Bill Clinton, “New Covenant Addresses,” qtd. in Greenberg, Middle Class Dreams p. 213.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Bill Clinton, “Inaugural Address,” qtd. in William G. Hyland, Clinton’s World: Remaking American Foreign Policy (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1999), p. 17.Google Scholar
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    Jim A. Kuypers, Presidential Crisis Rhetoric and the Press in the Post–Cold War World (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1997), pp. 15–17.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Donald S. Will, “United States Policy in the Middle East,” in Political Issues in America Today: The 1990s Revisited ed. P.J. Davies and F.A. Waldstein (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996), p. 237 [230–245].Google Scholar

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© Susan Aronstein 2005

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  • Susan Aronstein

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