In difficulty, there is always opportunity. Following 9/11, several opportunities presented themselves to the United States. We could have used the tragedy to change our world-wide energy strategy- pioneering in developing new sources of energy and efficiency which would be the envy of the world. We could have followed up on early victories in Afghanistan to crush Osama Bin Ladin and his Taliban allies. But, of course, we did not.
Now, the United States is facing difficulties again. I've been listening to a series on NPR about economic impact in the US. I highly recommend it. People are hurting and they are frightened and those things are going to come into play in the next election.
The American People will be looking for their political representatives in Washington and State Governments to implement solutions. They will be right to do so.
They will want to see America's public treasury taken care of, not squandered. They will want to see our society find ways to embrace a growing global economy- WITHOUT surrendering our jobs and our livelihood. They will want to see our representatives close loopholes that allow our wealthy to skirt their duty to the society at large- to admit that even the self-made man cannot make money or acquire property without the help of others (workers, educators, policemen, firemen, etc.)
At the same time, I hope that the American people will not miss the opportunities that have been presented to them in the midst of their hardship. In the NPR series, for example, one woman complained that she had to think twice, no, three times before taking a car trip.
But that is precisely what we should be doing- in times of lean, and in times of plenty. We should be thinking- we should be acting responsibly. And we should be taking responsibility for ourselves and the world in which we live.
It is only be regaining self discipline, and by learning to distinguish what we "need" from what we "want" that America will find her way back to success.
Times are hard right now, but opportunity to change ourselves, gain strength and ... well, grow up...is also here.
I hope America will take her moment this time. If not, there are others who will take it from her.