In his Tuesday New York Times column, David Brooks evaluated the direction of the American experiment and, uncharacteristically, found it difficult to muster much hope of it succeeding.
At least initially, that is, comparing the current economy and election cycle to what "happened in Europe in the 1930s" and noting that "[w]er're not close to that kind of descent in America today, but we're closer than we've been."
Much like "deficit scolds" his fellow New York Times columnist Paul Krugman bemoans for providing the same answer to every question -- lower taxes on the wealthy and reining in government spending -- Brooks' solution to this "set of generational challenges" is to eschew politics on a grand scale and embrace once more the virtues of the local:
America still has great resources at the local and social level. Here in San Antonio, there are cops who know how to de-escalate conflicts by showing dignity and respect. Everywhere I go there are mayors thinking practically and non-dogmatically. Can these local leaders move upward and redeem the national system, or will the national politics become so deranged that it will outweigh and corrupt all the good that is done block by block?
I’m betting the local is more powerful, that the healthy growth on the forest floor is more important than the rot in the canopy...