Although studies show that we conservatives are usually happier and more optimistic than most about our personal lives, we also tend to be a bit more pessimistic than the average person about the country. We look at our unsustainable level of spending, the dramatically expanding, increasingly lawless welfare state, encouragement of tribalism and class hatred as a political tactic, hostility towards Christianity, schools that teach socialism and liberalism, the morally bankrupt entertainment industry and the reelection of a man who may have had the single worst performance as President of anyone in our nation's history and we quite naturally fear for the future of our country. This is appropriate and anyone who tells you that our nation isn't in serious jeopardy right now is either ignorant or lying to you. Yet and still, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this country's future.
1) The reelection of Barack Obama has the potential to be a turning point. Despite Barack Obama being a mean-spirited, habitually dishonest socialist who was presiding over a terrible economy and a record of incompetence unprecedented in America's history, he was reelected anyway. This should be a wake-up call for the Republican Party. The GOP's messaging, choice of candidates, fidelity to its principles and most importantly, minority outreach just isn’t good enough. The same goes for results the deep pocketed donors in the party are getting for their contributions. Their money isn't being used wisely. The grassroots have now been alerted that just showing up at a Tea Party isn't good enough either. Social conservatives and the Christian church should be shocked out of their complacency as well. Although Obama seems likely to make a mess of things in his second term, that will give the American people more insight into the wages of liberalism while the Republican majority in the House and the three conservatives and two right leaning moderates on the Supreme Court will hopefully keep Obama from doing too much damage. God willing, as terrible as Barack Obama's election seems to be for the country today, it will turn out to be a positive turning point.
2) Technology and resource acquisition may advance faster than we anticipate. Did you know the United States is the Saudi Arabia of shale oil? We have the potential not just to become almost self-sufficient, but to become a net exporter of oil. Granted, that probably won't happen under the liberal Luddites in the White House today, but it's just a matter of time until this nation's energy potential is unlocked. We could also conceivably pass Russia in natural gas production as early as 2015. When you couple that with technological advances right out of science fiction in 3D printing, algae based fuel, nearly cost-free medical diagnostics, vertical farming and robotics, we may have the ability to do better than most people expect over the next few decades.
3) We're in a stronger position than many people realize. America still has the world's largest economy and the most powerful military. The dollar is the world's reserve currency; we're still the single most attractive destination for immigrants and we have the world's best customer base for other nations to target. We have more soft power and cultural influence than any other nation in the world and we're still the planet's only Super Power. Weaknesses? We have plenty, but we shouldn’t disregard our nation’s truly massive strengths.
4) We may move slowly, but we will eventually adjust. What Winston Churchill said about Americans is all too often true, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." As a nation, we have a terrible habit of waiting until a crisis strikes before we take decisive, albeit poorly-thought-out action to deal with it. Then over time, we get around to dealing with the devils in the details. In other words, we tend to take a lot of damage that could have been prevented with quicker action, but history shows that we do eventually address our problems.
5) There's no other nation ready to take our place as a Super Power. Japan's population has gotten very old, very fast. Western Europe has larger problems with big government, economic productivity, demographics and debt than we do. China is still growing, but the country looks increasingly unstable and seems highly unlikely to continue its rapid growth over the next few decades. Additionally, Russia and India seem likely to remain as regional powers for the foreseeable future. In other words, this isn't the Cold War where our loss would mean that another great power would be waiting to step in and shove us aside. Losing our Super Power status would be far from ideal, but it would still be preferable to living in a world dominated by Russia, China or Europe.
6) We've been through bad times before and we're still here. This country has survived a Revolutionary War against the world's most powerful nation that was fought in our own territory, another fight against the Brits during the War of 1812 in which they burned the White House and came close to capturing the American northeast, a Civil War that pitted the northern and southern halves of the country against each other, not just one, but two world wars, a decade long Great Depression and a Cold War against the Soviet Union in which we had enough nuclear weapons pointed at each other to wipe out life on earth. After all that, we're still standing strong. A debt driven crisis could make things very tough for us over the next few decades, but our history says we'll pull ourselves up by our bootstraps when it's over.
7) The wheels of history turn awfully slowly. Since history is such a long period of time and we human beings live such comparatively short lives, we often overestimate the speed with which a problem will overtake us. As to great nations, they can splutter on for an extraordinarily lengthy time before finally falling to pieces. Just to name the most famous example of this, Rome was founded in the 8th Century BC, became a republic in the 6th Century BC, ceased to be a republic in the 1st Century BC, and split into two halves in the 3rd Century AD. The Western half of the Roman Empire was overrun in the 5th Century AD, the last Roman emperor visited Rome in the 7th Century AD, and the Eastern Roman Empire finally fell to the Turks in the 15th Century AD. Does that mean the United States should be fine for another thousand years or so? No, but it means that devastating problems we spot today that look immediately threatening may sometimes take decades or even centuries longer than we expect to flower into devastation.