Over at The Red & Black, I have written a column about why I am optimistic about America’s prospects in 2014. While it is tempting to view the future through the prism of split-second breaking news and trends, these tend to be fleeting. For a preview of what we can expect, look instead at our history and underlying principles. Here are the first few paragraphs of the column. I hope you’ll read the entire thing.
At the start of the new year, it is customary for the columnist to reflect on the year that was and prophesize about the year to come. Needless to say, reflection is the easier of the two tasks.
The columnist can reflect on any number of events and trends from 2013. He can opine about Miley Cyrus or Bashar al-Assad (still gyrating near the top of the charts and war-making at the top of the Syrian chain of command, sad to say), or about “selfies” (the word of the year) and other supposed symbols of decline and despair
The United States’ problems scarcely need to be mentioned: our health care system remains dysfunctional during a rocky rebooting; our government is gridlocked and divided — the adjectives are ubiquitous to the point of cliché; the benefits of the stock market’s recovery have not accrued to the economy — that is, to the population — as a whole, which slogs along. Many are discouraged.
As I reflect, however, I am filled with optimism for the United States. Or is it admiration? Because however grim our circumstances appear on cable news or the Twitter timeline, which provide the worm’s eye view of events, from farther up they are the problems of success — of a healthy and prosperous nation.
Read the rest here.