IS IT JUST ME, OR ARE WE HOLDING OUR COLLECTIVE BREATH?
The economy is doing well, unemployment is low, and yet I get the uncanny feeling that there is more tension in the air than I can remember since coming to America 40 years ago. A general feeling of unhappiness has creeped in, and it is starting to deteriorate one of our most important aptitudes: the ability to think positive.
Our inability to pass a comprehensive immigration policy, provide health care for all and pay everyone willing to work a living wage is weakening our nation. We are so divided over these and other topics, with well-hardened beliefs and unrealistic expectations on both sides. The current state of debate is unproductive, and the tone employed by many involved in our information wars is deplorable.
I believe the unease that has decreased America’s happiness factor is based on a lack of trust in the government’s ability to provide real progress for all in a balanced way.
Why is it so hard for a nation that boasts natural resources and wealth and that leads in research and creativity to get the basics right? I have long argued that a capitalistic system needs to lift all boats. It is not difficult to understand that if everyone had a roof over their head, healthy food on the table, access to affordable health care and excellent schools, we would be a more productive society with lower crime rates, reduced drug abuse and more families staying together — all things that unsolved cost us a lot more indirectly.
WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR A NATION THAT BOASTS NATURAL RESOURCES AND WEALTH AND THAT LEADS IN RESEARCH AND CREATIVITY TO GET THE BASICS RIGHT?
Policies that are merely trying to artificially raise the nation’s GDP will eventually fail if we are not building a strong foundation to support them.
Instead of restoring our infrastructure, facing the threat of climate change head on, leading the world with sustainable innovations and doubling down on the global fight for democracy, our country faces a social crisis at home along with rising inequality and a growing distrust in government, corporations and media, with no end in sight.
We might be the first generation since the founding fathers that does not believe that the next generation will be better off. Combine that with the fact that the world stage is not showing any signs of stability and that we face multiple threats from foreign powers trying to undermine our moral fiber and feed off the divisiveness to weaken America and its influence in the world.
These are all the signs that have brought down every great society in history and unless we find a way forward, our fate might not be different. Let’s stop listening to the slogans and empty promises and believe in short-term solutions. It’s time to re-invent our future from the ground up and restore our ability to work together for a better future for all of us.
Marc Frey – media entrepreneur