Monday, May 31, 2010

America: Past and Future

In the past few weeks I have been riveted by the History Channel series America: The Story of Us (despite the dreadful hyperbole in the narrative!).  The pictures and the trajectory of the story are moving and inspiring.  What an amazing People are We The People of the United States!

I also read the book Comeback America by David M. Walker.  Walker describes the events and attitudes that gave rise to the economic crisis we face in this country today, and challenges We The People to do something about it -- now. It's a daunting task that might seem impossible to a lesser People.

The History Channel's series shows in pictures and dramatization how often in the past Americans have, in fact, done the impossible. Beginning with the military defeat of the greatest army since the Romans that gave us our independence in the first place to the transcontinental railroad, the mass production of steel, and the invention of the light bulb – not to mention the technological and social advances of the 20th Century – Americans have risen to every challenge our land and our world have thrown at us.  

When I read the newspapers these days, it would be easy to become despondent at all the challenges that face us, but, seen in light of our history, what we face to day is just one more opportunity for We The People to do the impossible.  

Can we?  Absolutely!  

Will we?  I don't know.

I do know that I believe with all my heart that we should do everything we can to live up to the heritage of courage, entrepreneurship and innovation handed to us by our forebearers.  I hadn't really thought about it until recently reading through all my manuscripts consecutively: one of the subtexts in every one of my stories is the story of the decency, creativity, courage and power of the American Spirit.  

This seems to be an appropriate reflection on this Memorial Day, when we reflect with thanks on those who sacrificed to give us the opportunities we have today.  Don't we owe our children and grandchildren the same opportunities?  I think so.

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