In short, we have glorious opportunities. The world often moves paradoxically. Today’s defeat may contain tomorrow’s victory. Obama has shown the world what life would be like without America, and lots of people don’t like that picture. The fear and anger that we see in the banners and posters in Cairo, denouncing Obama for his complicity with their departed tyrant and his betrayal of the American revolutionary values we celebrate this holiday weekend, are shared by millions of Iranians, Tunisians, Syrians, Libyans, Venezuelans, Cubans, Ecuadorians and Nicaraguans. If we supported them, we could reshape the world, as we have done before.
Our current leaders have no interest in advancing our revolutionary values. On the contrary, they instinctively side with the oppressors, with our enemies. They conduct apology tours. But they, too, will pass. Without Carter, there would not have been Reagan. We had to be reminded of American exceptionalism, and this was accomplished by a feckless president who, like the current one, saw us as the heart of the problem rather than the last best hope for a solution.
I don’t know if a new leader is readying him or herself to reassert our national values, but it’s certainly possible. There is a new generation moving through the ranks, some of them tempered on the battlefields of the Middle East. We can already see some of them in Congress, in state capitals, in the Tea Party, and even in the media. They seem to “get it.” Can they win? And even if they do, will they have the courage and the wit to take advantage of the cards the Great Shuffler has dealt us?
I’m an historian, not a prophet. But we’ve actually got quite a good hand. If we play well, Obama will join Ozymandias and his ilk in Hope.