In speaking of the goal to place a man on the moon, he said we do this "not because it is easy, but because it is hard." So, do we abandon efforts at consensus-building and social change because it is difficult? That is not how our parents survived the Great Depression and won WWII. Nat, you asked me in what ways I differ from you in my positions and ideas for solving problems. And, being quite American, I was about to expound on that. But then, I realized that this is exactly what is holding Americans back: Focusing upon things we disagree on instead of trying to find more areas of agreement. Fighting each other, and submitting to paralysis simply because we may differ on details, results in paralysis. All that "critical thinking" and "the competition of ideas" that we were told was the ideal has served to disable us from addressing anything important. Men vs. women, white vs. black and other minorities, Conservatives vs. Liberals, Religious persons vs. each other and non-religious, Gays vs. Straights, . . on and on. We spend all our time and energy fighting each other, so that little gets done except for the agendas of this country's rulling class. We are much easier to rule when most of our resources are directed at "enemy" factions instead of at the myriad of problems the U.S. now faces.
As for this global economy . . why is that inevitable? Has global competition helped or hurt us? If, as I believe, it has hurt more than helped, why participate in it to any point beyond which it is clearly beneficial? If Americans understood (and I think a great many do) that the only way out of our economic malaise is to reestablish our own industries, and be willing to pay more to support our own industries . . our own people . . . I think we could resurrect our American way of life. We could do this IF we have the will to do it. We need leadership that is about consensus-building and putting America first, rather than promoting divisions and valuing short-term profits that damage the country greatly in the long-term. Why can't we do that? Past generations of Americans did . . why can't we?