December 29, 2013

Progress possible in new year

Will 2014 be a good year or a challenging year? That is up to us.

Challenges abound. We live in the Divided States of America, and the gap widens each year. For generations now, we have been in the unenviable position atop the global economic pecking order — unenviable because we suffer from the winner’s curse of complacency. Meanwhile, other nations covet our position and have been racing to push us from our perch.

2014 could be pivotal.

A defining quality of the American people is our love and affection for the underdog, the downtrodden, and the Hail-Mary pass.

I’ve not seen an era when inequality has been so wide, unemployment consistently so high, and a cohesive national plan so elusive. Nor has there been a time when our nation has been so divided.

Some harken back to the late ‘60s as a similarly divided nation. Those who took patriotic pride in our nation fought a cultural war against those who were on the verge of being drafted to fight a war of tragic consequences. Yet, most people then still harbored optimism for our nation.

Those who fought that 1960s cultural war so captured by Meathead and Archie on “All in the Family” still believed that America was the land of opportunity. Everyone who worked hard could secure their piece of American pie. Business was good, unions represented values that protected the entire working class, and government constituted a smaller share of the economic pie. The nation yearned for leaders who could cement together such institutions.

That concrete foundation of shared values has eroded, just as has the foundation of our nation, rich and poor alike. The share of wealth that goes to the working middle class erodes each year too, while the zealots from either party have more in common with each other than they do with the rest of us.

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  • colin_read.jpg Good organizations lack drama

    Groups that accomplish their objectives do so with a minimum of distraction and politics, focusing instead on creativity and a dynamic vision, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Parking fines a short-sighted policy

    Tourists should be encouraged to do business downtown without fear of getting tickets, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Technical training a key part of education

    Recently honored, Champlain Valley Educational Services offers meaningful careers for those not heading for college, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Constitution withstands test of time

    The nation's founding document is a delicate balance that we should continue to nurture, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg This region helped shape a new nation

    As we celebrate our nation's history, we must also appreciate the key role the North Country played in the founding of two countries, according to columnist Colin Read.

    June 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Diversity of views a key to progress

    With today's mobile society and 24-hour media, like-minded people tend to congregate together stifling diversity of opinion, according to columnist Colin Read.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Local heros needed to inspire us all

    It takes individual talent and initiative to truly move a community forward to fulfill its economic destiny, according to columnist Colin Read.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Fee on carbon needed

    Creating incentives to curb emissions is critical to containing climate change, according to columnist Colin Read.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Governor inspires renewed shared-services effort

    Tax-cap plan has provided incentives for municipalities to get together to try and increase savings and efficiency, according to columnist Colin Read.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Pipeline issue has no simple answer

    If Alberta oil is not transported through Keystone, it will cause more pollution to send it to China, according to columnist Colin Read.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo