I have had the chance to catch up on some reading this week and overall my sentiment about our prospects in the US has turned a corner. Over the past couple of months I have been finding more and more reasons to be bullish on America and some of those thoughts seemed to have crystallized in the last week. Here is my attempt at a list:
Attention on Education: I have been involved in non profit initiatives to improve education in the US for 20 years and I have never seen the kind of focus and awareness on the education problem as we saw in 2010. There were always a few high profile people working on this -- now there are dozens. 2011 is the year we will start our climb back up. We have a long way to go, but not going down further is a great victory.
Realism in the White House: We may not like the state of things, but just accurately assessing the problems is a big victory. In the past we had leaders that just made things up -- it is hard to address issues when no one wants to talk about them.
International Humility: We have said it over and again enough times that the world community is starting to believe that we are not going to solve everyone's problems. We said we would get out of Iraq and we are actually starting to do that. There was a great line I heard the other day (not sure of the source): Saudi Arabia is willing to fight Iran to the last dead American. We don't seem likely to get sucked into that game.
No Need for a New War: Yes Assange should have been on the cover of Time Magazine. I am glad he was not because that one event has jinxed many other people, and the WikiLeaks story is just getting started. Here is a great post on The New Republic about how WikiLeaks could end big business and big government. I don't know if that is true, but we do need a way to reduce the influence of big organizations before they drive us into a new war. Uncontrolled power always gets diffused somehow, and quite often it is a war that does it. Perpetually bad economic times also promotes war. We have very powerful big organizations and bad economic times -- a tough combo. WikiLeaks, or something like it, could be just the thing to pull the rug out from under the oil companies, bankers and the warmongers, and just in time too.
In America we know that we have the most adaptable form of governance on the planet. I know that once we wake up and view our problems in the light of day -- we will prevail. I think 2010 could have been the year we accurately assessed things, and 2011 could be the year we start doing something about it.
If you have some time this week and want to read some great background material, check out David Brook's Sydney awards for best essays of 2010.