THE SILVER LINING

It’s the day after the world’s end, and I’m still ranting, so this is as good a time as any to step back from the gloom-and-doom musings and look at what every dark cloud is lined with (and it ain’t Federal Reserve notes—forgive me, old habits are hard to break).

Until now, the dynamic, as far as health care and the economy in general are concerned, has been consistently negative, a fertile soil for my pessimism to take root. Yet, there is a glowing ray of hope. Growing numbers of citizens, even amongst our ruling class, are coming to the conclusion that something “radical” needs to be done. Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare is such an example. Whether New Gingrich, who in the past has had many compelling, common-sense ideas to reverse our decline, really believes such a plan is “right-wing social engineering” or engaged in political posturing gone awry, we can only speculate. But his subsequent abject apology in the face of the conservative backlash may give a hint.

But I digress. The point is that the winds of change have begun to blow. Perhaps only a breeze at a time we could stand for a gale, but it’s a start. Our mettle and our values will ultimately determine whether we have a difficult, but healing, decade ahead, or collapse entirely. If the latter, there are still enough good people to build something new out of the ashes. That’s the good news. The bad is that the in the absence of an economically strong powerhouse with freedom as its paramount virtue we create a vacuum that may allow Islamist fundamentalism to grow, as Nazism did in the ‘30s . Who will be there to pick up the sword we drop?

In the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham convinces God to spare the city if as few as ten good men can be found. We all know the unhappy ending of that tale. But I don’t believe God has quite given up on America yet. We still have a lot more than ten good men. I just think the jury’s still out on which way that number is heading.

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