The average american is completely driven by fear and pretty much just accepts the reality they're presented as how it is, how it was, and how it will be. Very few people have the courage to try to bring about change. Look at how long slavery existed, then look at how long Jim Crowe laws were in place after that. If you tell the average American that communists/terrorists/gays/drug dealers/whoever are out to get them, and the only way they'll be safe is to give up some of their rights/freedoms the sad, sad truth is most people will choose safety over liberty.
I talked to a guy just a couple weeks ago, a smart college-educated guy, who when I was ranting about surveillance said he didn't care. When I looked at him incredulously he said he "didn't have anything to hide" and something about catching/punishing whichever bad guys we were talking about. It was yet another step towards me losing all faith in humanity.