In the aftermath of the nation’s favorite fall pastimes -- overeating and over shopping -- comes a tumultuous week of new news about old topics: Barney Frank, Billy Crystal and the Occupy movement.
Domestically, Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced his long overdue retirement from Congress and the subprime loan business; Herman Cain, another paragon of virtue, battles yet another allegation of an extramarital dalliance; Mitt Romney struggles to explain his shifting positions; and President Obama continues to raise money from the 1% so he can spend another four years spending another few trillion we don’t have stimulating/bribing public sector unions, making loan guarantees to failing/green industries, and exempting Blue state companies from the strictures of his healthcare bill, which (if not struck down) kicks in around A.D. 2014.
Internationally, nations are withdrawing their diplomatic staff from Iran like it’s 1979; Islamic terrorists fired more rockets into Israel; the Euro is poised to fail while Germany (again) dominates the Continent; public sector workers (in England) strike over (proposed) cuts to unaffordable pension benefits; and Coptic Christians in Egypt, increasingly persecuted in the new and (un)improved Islamist Egypt, flee their homeland while Egyptians taste military flavored democracy.
In Hollywood, old is new again: the Muppets are back, as are the Marvel Comic superheroes, Sherlock Holmes, the Mission Impossible crew, and Billy Crystal at the Oscars. A Beach Boys reunion may be in the offing for the Grammy Awards and the next James Bond movie, the twenty-third installment in fifty years, is in production.
In better news, the NBA announced that its players will play basketball (in America) for half a season; Apple continues to sell millions of iPhones; Facebook may be worth $100 billion next year; and fresh evidence has emerged that God answers sports prayers: the Broncos, under Tim Tebow, keep winning; and the San Francisco 49ers have the second best record in the NFL.
What connects these discordant events is that they all matter in America. Everything matters in America because, for better and worse, everyone matters in America. America, rightly (and sometimes wrongly), celebrates individuals and their famous (and infamous) achievements. Even in an age of media-driven self-indulgence, which enables shameless and tactless self-promotion, progress is being made and hope persists.