People are skittish about the economy’s immediate future. Ask how things will be in a year and you hear a different story — and a remarkable show of optimism despite economists’ widespread expectations that a serious recession is brewing.Americans are certainly an optimistic brood. After all, we come from a lineage of frontiersmen. Our ancestors picked up and moved west just because they believed they could make something of themselves. Our more recent citizens struggled to get here; in some cases risking their lives walking through deserts to realize their own American dreams.
We have always been the nation of a Jack Kerouac-style open road mixed with an overzealous, naive Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra.
So it should be no surprise to anyone-- certainly not me-- that in the closing moments of the 2008 campaign, Americans are choosing optimism over experience.
I would never expect Senator Obama to steal President Reagan's "morning in America" line, but it's fitting that the Democratic campaign has adopted a former Republican theme song at its rallies: "Only in America," by Brooks & Dunn.
Nine days to go.
NOTE: Excerpt from "Poll shows U.S. nervous, optimistic on economy," October 23, 2008.