We hear a lot about outsourcing, but little or nothing about insourcing. U.S. automakers are having their troubles, but Japanese companies like Honda and Toyota have been building factories here as fast as they can, employing American autoworkers. Both countries benefit from this.
We spend a lot of time bemoaning how polarized our country is and how downright nasty political campaigns have become. But when you think of it, much of this is just the healthy, sometimes excessive, exercise in democracy that is necessary to the nature of the American experiment. We fight hard over political issues in our campaigns, as we always have, but eventually the votes are counted and we move on to the business of government and the life of our nation.
For most of this year, Democrats and Republicans bitterly fought over an energy bill to boost fuel-efficiency standards and help make the U.S. a little more self-sustainable. They also battled over the 2008 budget that became a test of wills over unrestricted funding for the Iraq war.
But last week both houses of Congress agreed on an energy bill by an overwhelming margin, and President Bush signed it. The budget bill passed both chambers too, with the Senate giving Bush the war money he asked for, without the withdrawal deadline anti-war politicians had demanded.
Things are looking up elsewhere in the world as well. It is clear that Bush's counterinsurgency in Iraq has substantially lessened the violence there and to a large degree has stabilized a democracy still in its infancy. Iraqi soldiers are slowly taking over more of their country's defenses and thousands of Iraqi citizens are slowly returning to their homeland.
Our relations with Great Britain, Germany and France have never been better. A new attempt to forge a viable peace plan between Israel and the Palestinian government shows renewed hope of succeeding. North and South Korea have begun tentative steps for useful exchanges between the two estranged nations.
So there is much to be hopeful about and grateful for in this season of "great joy and good tidings" as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child.
Merry Christmas, everyone.