The Midterm Elections Close One Door and Open Another
The mid-term election was certainly a shining example of Democracy in all its imperfect beauty. The will of the people was clearly apparent. A President and his war were clearly rejected. The American political conversation moved back to the middle. The founding fathers vision of a government of checks and balances has been taken up by the electorate. Change, discourse, consensus, compromise, bi-partisanship and a clear desire to chart a new course was the message of the electorate.
It feels like a door on a time and mind set has closed and a new one has opened. The six years since the 2000 election has been a time of anger, fear, anxiety, and negativity in the United States. The issues of the disputed 2000 presidential election, the stock market crash, 9/11, the rise of religious fundamentalism â€” and its strident â€˜we are right and you are wrongâ€™ arguments â€” governmental lies and deception, a war with Americans dying and no end in sight, and a knowledge that we are destroying our planet have all created a sense of despair and depression for a majority of Americans. Many have expressed a sense of things spinning out of control, of America and the world having lost its way.
Since I am a futurist, people have, during the past year, asked me where we are going. Inherent in the way they asked the question it was clear that they were in despair and looking for hope. Read on.
I sense that this election closed a door to a time now past and opened a door to a new time, one when we can as a people move directionally toward where we need to go. It feels like we have returned to our historical true line of middle ground, of recognition that we have to work together, of responsibility and accountability. This is good as the problems facing us are truly large and the solutions demand that the greater populace come together to act as a larger collective entity than the â€˜us and themâ€™ mentality. The problems are much bigger than our own individual points of view, or what party we belong to, or what our economic vested interests are.
We want to feel good about our country, about our standing in the world, about our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. All of us, to varying degrees, want to help in making the world a better place, because we all live â€˜hereâ€™. This election shows that we can take action to change things and that things will change. What is important for all of us to understand is that our power to influence is no longer restricted to the ballot box or confined to political action or lobbying. We are in a world that has never existed before and we need to understand this, accept this and evolve into a new way of thinking, communicating and acting.
A clear example of this occurred early this year regarding the â€˜Dubai Portsâ€™ situation. The White House put out a statement that the U.S. was in the process of approval of a sale for the control of some major ports in the country to a Middle Eastern Islamic country. Within hours this story was not only carried by the media, but it was buzzing through the Internet. The general reaction was: â€œWhat, you have got to be kidding!â€. Within a day or two there were demonstrations across the country. How could our government, who had been talking tough about Islamic terrorists sell control of our ports to such a country? Due to the light speed of our electronic connectedness, the people reacted so quickly and so strongly that every politician scrambled to catch up, sputtering into every available microphone that this ports deal was a horrible idea. It was as though a tsunami of citizen opinion rose up almost immediately and absolutely crushed the administrationâ€™s plan for the sale, all in a matter of days. This was something that could not have happened ten or even five years ago. We are now so connected that everything feels immediate to us. The speed of change is now part of our environment.
I sense that the next two years will be a time of great movement away from our recent past, a transition and a prologue for a new time when the truly critical issues facing humanity today will begin to be intelligently addressed. Of course there are many problems and crises left over from our recent past. We must all shed the negativity and anxiety of the last six years. The door on that room has been shut. We need to all face forward to our collective future and combine our connectedness with our desire for a better world. After these mid-term elections, we now have the chance to do so with at least some sense of upbeat possibility.