Several years ago--the Summer of 2009--my son and I with some friends rode bicycles from San Francisco to Telluride, CO. On a blog of that adventure I reflected on the trip and the future of America. The financial crisis and our government response to it disturbed me and I wanted to do a book of koans called A Month Across America in which I reflected on the question -- Whither America? I felt something important had been lost with 9/11 and the financial crisis and I wanted the feel of a new more hopeful direction. Obama had tapped this feeling but we live in complex times and it was a little harder to deliver. The idea was I would try and ride 100 miles a day and write a meditation on current ideas infecting, awakening, or even disturbing the rough consensus on American exceptionalism. - Something like, what is the role of religion in America--are we experiencing a New Awakening that is sending us back to fundamentalism in order to join the clash of civilizations or are we joining Europe in the secular modernity project? Now America is going where it will whatever I think but I think it is helpful to have a set of hopeful beliefs about the Future to encourage ourselves and inspire our children. I am not a doom and gloom kind of person and the “End is Near” predictions have been a staple of civilization since at least Paul wrote most of the New Testament. But I do think we have some unique challenges that our leaders do not seem predisposed to tell us.
In the blog I came to the conclusion that we need a New Localism which would be a retrenchment from the growth forever crowd and the globalists. I mentioned 4 issues I thought important: the moribund and maladjusted economy, poor ecological stewardship of our natural world, challenges of peak oil and American identity (immigration) which is really not about foreigners but about citizenship and its responsibilities. We need a Project America. Perhaps conditions now are so complex that leaders’ have as their highest goal not allowing things to fall apart on their watch. This is hardly responsible and not the way clear eyed adults handle real problems. The waste and malfeasance in our political system is debilitating. Billion dollar political campaigns to convey NO relevant information about real directions for the polity are criminal. In fact that is what we have, an unimaginative overclass, fearful of their privileges, unwilling to stand up, say what they think, and lose an election. The vast majority of voters seem more stupefied and inert and may go vote but don’t have any real belief it will make much difference.
So I would like to undertake Project America. There are a number of individuals already hard are work on the new America and I’d like to join them from my little reactionary enclave here in Alabama. We’ll see how it goes.