There's nothing more difficult to see than the history before your eyes. It sometimes takes generations to understand the significance of historic events.
The temptation to see hope in the contemporary American landscape is overwhelming. The election of Barack Obama has left most Americans with a palpable sense that the future can be different.
Providence has been kind to the United States. Failures of leadership and policy choices that would have compromised the futures of most nations have been overwhelmed by the natural strengths of America. Abundant natural resources, a massive internal market, a strong work ethic and two broad oceans have protected America from others and ourselves. It's clear that this is no longer good enough. As a generation we're going to have to earn our future. The rules that apply to others and emphasize savings, investment and education now apply to us.
It's too much to declare that Barack Obama is our last chance. America will endure but it's not too much to accept that unless he can lead all Americans to focus again on the basics of economic success, our standard of living will not be maintained. There are just so many years that other nations can out perform our students, foreign households can out save our families, and other governments can accumulate our debt before the world experiences an economic realignment.
Some will accept the consequences of economic decline if we can enjoy just a few more profligate years. They would also better be prepared to accept the consequences for their freedom and the security of their children. No nation in history has ever entered into economic decline without altering the military balance of power with its adversaries.
Barack Obama holds something very dear in his hands. He will either change the fundamentals of American leadership or something that we all cherish very dearly will succumb to the natural forces of human history.