Is the sky falling on this Beacon on the Hill, ending a century of Yankee dominance, crushing the greatest, most brashly exceptional nation known to mankind? Is this worldwide wonder of freedom and democracy, the intersection of divine history and human destiny, kaput, on its last legs, about to implode? Not quite, not yet, and that's no endorsement of the status quo: powers-that-be hold high trump cards.
Every generation endures end-of-the world scenarios, and we still dread last century's, nuclear holocaust. Drama -- let alone anxiety -- commands our attention and heartstrings. Pandemics, portable nukes, fiery asteroids, religious mania, starvation, rightwing nuts, and looming climate change, all threaten millions. But anxiety, even nightmare projections, do not mean Armageddon is upon us, nor that pundits suddenly discover reliable crystal balls. Discretion is the better part of this valor.
Global warming looms, likely to cut world population and food production, but that's neither extinction nor end of times – nor reformation destructive capitalism. Want good news? Harvard professor Steven Pinker argues our belligerent species has cut wartime-violence killing sprees. Are we not exiting Iraq, sort of? Life expectancies, even for the impoverished, grow annually, if you count enough people. Only 43 Americans suffered capital punishment in 2011 (half the 2000 totals), mostly in W's Texas. Okay, we live in grim times but take heart: we don't guillotine yet. And most of life's simple pleasures haven't been banned, yet.
Centers hold on
No doubt, systemic cracks abound, thanks to myopic leadership blunders, not just across state and national politics but corporate's best and brightest, sports top dogs, and ...