(This line comes from the commenter “desiderius” at Hooking Up Smart, though a Google search reveals, with a bit of irony, earlier use at democraticunderground.com in connection with some George W. Bush controversy or other.)
Not even the cleverest among us knows the future. Perhaps we should temper our unhappiness over the election results by recalling the past. Who accurately foresaw 2012 from 2005 or even 2010? Who foresaw 1940 from 1928, or the moon landings from 1940, or the twenty-year Reagan boom from 1979? America’s future looks a bit bleak at the moment, but it is human nature to extrapolate too much from the present and to prefer confident predictions, even of bad outcomes, over the reality of constant uncertainty. Things are rarely as good or bad as they seem, and the only safe bet is on more surprises. Not all of these surprises will be bad. The election was a kick in the gut and it may take us a few days to get our bearings, but, going forward, we should resist the urge to indulge our negative feelings or to accept the comfortably gloomy scenarios as inevitable.
The country appears to be in the midst of a major transition, possibly moving from the top-down social, business and political framework whose effectiveness peaked after the Second World War, and which has been declining ever since, to a more decentralized America that is more consistent with the Founders’ vision. This is one of the main themes of the book that Lex and Jim Bennett are working on. I think that their America 3.0 is an attainable goal so long as there are enough citizens who see the possibilities and do not give up.
The short run seems likely to be difficult, but there is much to look forward to if we maintain our focus and constructive attitude.