The end of pessimism

Americanflag1Is everyone ready to cheer up now?

Obama is going to be the next President, we are a couple of years away from mass produced electric cars, the economy will rebound, the war in Iraq and against terrorism is being won (see Edward Luttwark's provocative piece in Prospect on this) and, as Frank Rich so brilliantly argued yesterday, Bush-Cheney have become history before they are history. The news is pretty good. It's time to start smiling again.

So enough already with all the bad news about America. I came to this country in 1983 from dark, dismal England to be cheered up. I don't want to read kvetchers like Chalmers Johnson, Naomi Wolf or Morris Berman comparing America with Nazi Germany and Ancient Rome. I don't want to hear about imperial decline or the End of America. Its boring. And fundamentally wrong.

It's curious that the most obstinate defenders of America are English. Three of the most positive books about America that will published this year -- Matt Frei's Only In America, Bronwen Maddox's In Defence of America  and Justin Webb's Have a Nice Day... Behind the Cliches: Giving America Another Chance -- are all by English journalists living in America. Perhaps it's because, having had the misfortune of growing up in dark, dismal England, we can fully appreciate the remarkable optimism and vitality of the United States.

Back in 1983, when I arrived as a graduate student in America, there was a similar pessimism about the country. America, the kvetchers predicted, was about to be eclipsed by Japan, the economy no longer was innovative, the Post Watergate  political system didn't work, blah blah blah. The end-of-America pessimists were wrong then and they are wrong now. Today, the smart money is going into American business, American real-estate and the American dollar. Now is the time to invest in America. By next year, everyone will be doing it.