Hope and Change
A new president was in charge early in the decade. He was making promises of sweeping changes, heralding bold new ideas, deriding the past as no longer relevant. He looked toward the future as an open slate and rallied young people in particular in large rallies. His speeches were inspiring, his style charismatic.
Through the course of the decade, radical change took place. Bold new technologies were developed. Sweeping social changes took place. Financial markets heaved with ebbs and flows of enormous tides. Even the music people listened to changed remarkably in a few short years. By the end of the decade, you wouldn’t have dreamed that such change was possible in just ten years.
Am I talking about the current decade of 2010 to 2020? We are seeing radical change on all fronts in just a few years already, and the last four years of this decade promise even more of the same. But the same can be said for the first decade of the century. Look at the radical changes we saw with enactments of the Patriot Act and its limitations on personal freedom in the name of security, and the swings in market volatility that led to massive unemployment and instability. Or the last decade of the 20th century. Or the 80s, or the 70s, or the 60s.
Change is the Norm
In fact, there isn’t a decade since this country was founded that hasn’t seen significant change during the ten years spanning the life of the decade. Early in the life of the country, we saw decades create the Bill of Rights, annex the Louisiana Purchase, and fight a war (The War of 1812) just to survive as a nation. By the mid 1800s, slavery was becoming a dominant issue and the decades of 1850 through 1880 saw the rise of separatism, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.
By the end of the 19th century, we’ve become a country of interventionists, spreading our power around the globe. We sail into Japanese harbors, we fight Spanish wars, and we tell ourselves its our destiny. In just a decade or two, we’ve gone from ignoring the rest of the world, to telling the world we know what’s best for them. Change.
If you study the history of our nation, every decade is a decade of change and growth. We are not ones to sit around and watch mold grow on trees.
And so it is today. The calls for ‘Change’ have been resonating from one end of the country to the other since Obama was elected in 2008. Was his ‘Change’ what everyone is looking for? For some, the answer is yes and they would happily elect him a third time if they could. These are likely the people who look to Hillary Clinton as a potential replacement for Obama.
But I think there is a larger segment of the country that is fed up with the Washington, DC ‘status quo’ system, both Democrats and Republicans, and will happily seek a way to change that system if it is presented. These are the people who happily follow Trump, not because they think Trump is necessarily a natural leader or an overly qualified candidate for president. They want to elect him because they think he will go to DC and oppose the deeply entrenched career politicians who sit and slurp and the public trough, dining on our tax dollars for life in many cases.
This election will indeed usher in significant change, regardless of who is elected. Both candidates represent a path for this country into the future. One will continue, and even accelerate the existing status quo of public spending and higher taxes. One will take us back in the direction of free enterprise and less government. Which change we choose is up to us.