It seems the older I get, the more of a contrarian I become. Call me crazy, but at a time when so many Americans are looking upon the future with pessimism and despair, I couldn’t be more optimistic about our nation’s prospects for health, happiness, prosperity, and generalized well-being.
As we move into the second decade of the 21st Century, the widespread gloom and doom about our economy, the federal government, the environment, and the very fiber of the country is at a fever pitch. Our televisions are brimming over with 24-hour punditry and analysis of all that is wrong with our nation—our political system, our financial institutions, the evils of greedy corporations, the failure of our schools, crime, war, and a kind of moral depravity that reigns from sea to oily sea. Yippie! The Age of Aquarius is finally dawning.
Being a contrarian on everything from the stock market to the New York Yankees, I couldn’t be happier about the future that is before us. In the coming years, the U.S. economy will surely grow at a healthy pace; unemployment will abate; people will buy houses and place white-painted rocks around their gardens; science and technology will continue to prove that America leads the world in finding cures for disease, developing positive quality-of-life information systems and devices, fighting poverty and hunger across the globe, bringing warring parties to the peace table, and will remain the beacon of freedom and liberty for the whole world to emulate. Our people and their elected officials will find ways to deal with the problems of deficits, Social Security, wasteful spending, and the like because that is what we do. Americans dress for the big game, meet the challenge, overcome all obstacles, climb every mountain and ford every stream. America leads the world, despite eighth grade math scores, with the best- educated, most highly trained, inventive and entrepreneurial workforce on the planet. We are the doers, while the rest of the world just marches in the street, carrying signs.
I’m sorry, but the decline of western civilization and the collapse of the American Empire is not, in my view, inevitable, or even likely any time soon. To the contrary, I see so many hopeful signs and encouraging trends afoot that the biggest surprises awaiting our nation will most certainly be to the upside—just look to Fox news for contrarian confirmation.
I don’t know, but it seems to me that too many Americans tend to forget that our culture is defined not by its shortcomings, but by its greatness in the face of adversity. America is Joe Namath’s New York Jets, Apollo 13 returning safely to Earth, storming the beaches at Normandy, finding a cure for Polio, and pizza by the slice. America isn’t the Tea Part, no matter how loud they shout. America is the block party; making snow when it’s 75 degrees outside; a flash mob at the mall where a thousand strangers suddenly burst into song at the appointed hour.
Well, the appointed hour for the mob that will make things right when most people think our problems are too overwhelming is now. Call me naïve or just plain foolish, but I believe our future is bright, and I refuse to leave home without my rose-colored Foster Grants and my smiley-face tee shirt.
Happy New Year!