Is This The End of the American Century?

This site features updates, analysis, discussion and comments related to the theme of my book published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008 (hardbound) and 2009 (paperbound).

The Book

The End of the American Century documents the interrelated dimensions of American social, economic, political and international decline, marking the end of a period of economic affluence and world dominance that began with World War II. The war on terror and the Iraq War exacerbated American domestic weakness and malaise, and its image and stature in the world community. Dynamic economic and political powers like China and the European Union are steadily challenging and eroding US global influence. This global shift will require substantial adjustments for U.S. citizens and leaders alike.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Historic Day, for Indiana and the World

I went to vote this morning at 6am. It was dark, and there was already a long line outside the polling place at St. Thomas Aquinas elementary school. My daughters went to that school, and as the line snaked through the main hallway, I studied the pictures of the (graduating) 8th grade classes from over the years, and saw their faces--young, innocent, happy and hopeful.

I have never seen such a line for an election in this country. By 7am, I had filled out my ballot and fed it into the optical scanner--it showed that I was the 89th voter in that precinct. My friend Mike, an election official, observed that this was more than one vote per minute since the polls opened.

This is an historic day, for many reasons, but first and foremost because Americans have reclaimed their democracy. After years of embarrassingly low voter turnout levels--far lower than most other democracies--record numbers of people are voting today. This in itself is good for America, and a sign of hope.

In the past, poor people, young people, and minorities were far less likely to vote than rich, older White people. This skewed the political system and made it unrepresentative. This was one reason Chapter 5 of The End of the American Century is titled "Ailing American Democracy." Today, all those groups are voting, probably in record numbers, restoring a truly representative democracy.

But it is momentous as well because of the person that has moved them to turn out today--a young, vibrant, biracial man with an unusual name, who speaks of "community" and says that change must come from the grassroots. When the United States elects this man as their President, it will send a message around the world that the U.S. has rejoined the global community.

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