Friday, October 3, 2008

What next?

Now that the bailout/rescue/whatever has passed... what next?

We are at one of those turning points of American history-
The Revolutionary War
The great push West
The War between the States
Pearl Harbor
The civil rights movement
Now: The making of the green economy. The realization that we're all connected. The end of poverty.

This moment entered our consciousness on September 11th - that maybe we aren't as strong and dominant and destined to rule the world as we might think - but it has its roots going all the way back to the end of World War II. America as victor, and the entitlement that comes with it. And now, that moment in world history with America at the top is beginning to end.

But that doesn't mean we have to go all the way to the bottom. Everything we're experiencing now (now, meaning the last 10 years or so) - the rise of the internet, globalization, the energy crisis, climate change, terrorism, the stock market crash - are all related. It's just the world's way of leveling the playing field. How long have people in Africa, India, and China waited for their shot? How long have we kept them from getting it? It's not an either/or game. Everyone can be better off if we work together, if we're more respectful, if we keep each other in mind.

To me, the election this year is a fundamental part of this narrative. John McCain embodies the past. Vietnam War veteran, Iraq war supporter - both symbols of failed American influence abroad - if elected, the oldest 1st term president in history. Barack Obama - who has mobilized more than 2 million volunteers on the internet - the largest grassroots political coalition in American history - son of an African immigrant and a single mother from Kansas - a picture of 21st century America.

I can see how this is a little scary for many people. The future, the unknown, is always scary. But it is necessary if America is to survive. America has always stood for hope, as a refuge for the outcast. We can still be an example to the world - not of the power of the individual, but of the power of everyone - working together.


Janet said...

Amen. I'm proud of you for speaking (very well I might add) your mind.
you are 21st century at it's best you.

Jennifer said...

Great blog!

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