Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Inertia and Momentum

I'm so appreciative to spend my days with a two- and a four-year-old. They change each day. They explore each day. They say something funny each day. Though there are bad days, each day is likely to show growth over the previous.

Meanwhile, the news each days seems to confirm a general sense of inertia in national and world events that contrast sharply with the movement I see in Sam and Caroline. Yesterday's Washington Post carried a column that likened the stagnation of political change in countries around the world to a recession. In other words, countries that had seemed to be traveling an arc toward increasingly democratic and free realities seem stalled, while autocratic countries remain entrenched. Anne Applebaum lamented about the same trend in her Post piece today. Recently I saw that '90s jargon "gridlock" come up in news coverage of Congress's drift toward inaction before November. Both parties have no incentive to take risk between now and then on issues great and small.


I was a news junkie from a young age. My first decade or so of following the news yielded fascinating stories. Current events seemed to follow a plot in the waning years of the Cold War and through the first years after the fall of the Wall. Politicians seemed to promote the pursuit of substantial ideas, though they were ideas less complicated than the world of health care reform, comprehensive immigration reform, and cap-and-trade legislation.

Not just for professional reasons, the news remains critical for me to follow. Now, however, I feel like I'm observing a pool rather than a river.

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