"My fellow Americans, we are a country in debt and decline," Thomas Friedman kvetches today in a ominous column entitled "Anxious in America". Things have gotten to really bad in the USA, so bad, a hysterical Friedman complains, that we are at a "34 year low". What with the credit crunch and gas prices and our lack of national savings and the failure of American politicians to confront real issues, that we, as American citizens, have a responsibility to shovel ourselves out our collective mess:
"And digging out of this hole is what the next election has to be about and is going to be about — even if it is interrupted by a terrorist attack or an outbreak of war or peace in Iraq. We need nation-building at home, and we cannot wait another year to get started. Vote for the candidate who you think will do that best. Nothing else matters."
But America needs more than a new President at this time of intense anxiety -- we need an expert in change. And I've found the dream candidate for rebuilding our national confidence. Her name is Ariane de Bonvoisin and she is the founder and Chief Change Optimist (CCO) at First30Days, a website focused on the art and science of change. She's also the author of a book called, predictably, The First 30 Days, a practical guide to changing one's life.
As I argue in my Independent column this week, de Bonvoisin and her First30Days brand is a uniquely American enterprise, reflecting that faith in second acts which distinguishes America from the rest of the world. Her optimism is infectious and she needs to come up with a 30 plan to change America. My suggestion for the first day? Lock herself in a room with Thomas Friedman and give the old kvetch a personal tutorial in cheerfulness.