Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On The Upswing

I feel pretty good today.

I look to the future, and while things could easily slip back into darkness, things are looking brighter.

The economy seems to have bottomed out, altho we'll still see disturbing numbers of lay-offs through the summer. Housing starts are trending down, but that's more because people are sitting tight and refinancing their existing homes. Remember, housing starts have been artificially inflated for almost a decade now. We're at levels we should have been historically.

Even the stock markets seem to have incorporated and digested the shitty news and are primed to tick upwards regularly.

On the political front, I see an evolution in America. Obama's election was supposed to herald change, and indeed, it will. Maybe not as fast as many of us would like, but here's the thing: we have to trust that he meant what he said when he said he would be an agent of change.

Sometimes, to make a change, you have to fix what's broken first, stabilize that, and then you can build.

But it's culturally I see the greatest and most positive changes to come. Incrementally, to be sure, but change has a funny way of evolving in fits and starts. If you plant a hundred seeds, maybe eighty of them germinate and maybe fifty of those outlast the birds and worms. You can't predict where you'll have flowers, only that they'll grow out of some of the dirt.

If a future me was to come back in time and report that we needed to endure the Bush administration in order to truly advance the cause of humanity, that the past eight years were the dying gasps of a failed philosophy and mind-set, it would hardly surprise me.

Life is like that: change happens over the entrenched ideologies and agendas of the powered few. They'll try to clamp it down, then when the top blows off the boiling pot, get more aggressive in effecting the status quo.

And then they end up fighting a rear guard action, trying to maintain scraps and scrapes of what their power structure was. I don't expect conservativism to go away, not even quietly, but I do expect the noise level to decrease significantly as the changes we make turn up the signal, wipe out the noise.

We'll hear echoes of them down the corridors of time. Hell, one day a conservative will be elected President yet again, but like Reagan and Bush before him, he or she will have to deal with a changed world. Reagan had to unlearn to hate Social Security. Bush had to unlearn to hate equality.

The next conservative President will have to unlearn his(her) hatred of national healthcare and gay rights.

Time moves forward, not backward, and it is in this vein that we see the triumph of progress.