The new year 2022 unscrolls. As we struggle to get clear of the wreckage of 2021, the question is whether Americans have it in them to begin again, to journey into the future with some humility. Can we leave behind the evil passions that have eroded the order and security of American life and re-envision something more wholesome, more generally beneficial, that’s kinder to nature and humankind?
The pressure to turn conservative is increasing: by which I mean, the pressure to appreciate and preserve what we have and to consolidate public sentiment around goals consonant with our historical strengths. Partisan sniping, barbarizing technologies, upper-class selfishness, and decades of in-migration have triggered keen disillusionment, anomie, and rage. Meanwhile, our love affair with globalism has turned sour. We are croaking from the environmental and monetary costs.
Amid the disappointment and weariness, January invites us to be open, to be curious, to regard the world with fresh eyes. Paradoxically, the recollection of what Americans have struggled toward as ideal goods can green the journey, can guide our hejira through a broken world.
Image: “The Journey” (1903)
by Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott,
from this source.