2012 Election Voters: 5 Reasons to Stay Positive (Parade Magazine)
Dear voters: The next three to five years are likely to be turbulent no matter who wins the election. But even if you’re a short-term pessimist (as I am), it’s safe to be a long-term optimist. A growing chorus of experts believe that as long as our political leaders can handle the deficit and spark growth, our future will be much brighter. Read on to see why. —David Gergen
1. Breakthroughs in technology are unlocking a vast storehouse of energy in this country, especially in natural gas. With universities like MIT devoting more time and resources to energy research, more breakthroughs are ahead to make us both greener and more energy independent. By 2020, the U.S. could be the new Saudi Arabia of energy.
2. We are leading the world in discovering new ways to address human needs through advances in biology, information technology, and manufacturing. Already we see computers that can manufacture prosthetics with the stroke of a keyboard and iPhones that double as electrocardiograph devices when held to your chest.
3. America reigns supreme in higher education, which is a huge asset in our hyper-knowledge-based world. A Times Higher Education study found that the U.S. has 14 of the world’s top 20 universities. Since 1970, more than 60 percent of Nobel laureates in medicine, science, and economics have been Americans.
4. Both political parties are starting to agree that we need to open our doors to talented foreigners. (See “Reforming Immigration,” page 8.) That will bring a fresh wave of new companies and jobs and also help keep America younger than its competitors. Germany, the U.K., China, and Japan are all aging much faster than we are.
5. Two streams of people pouring into the workforce could change the country. The first are veterans, who are dazzling employers— a silver lining from 11 years of war. The second are college graduates who are passing up Wall Street to do socially responsible work. At some top universities, nearly one in five seniors have applied to Teach for America.