The great democracies face new and serious threats, yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence.
Bigotry seems emboldened, our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. We've seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity, disagreement escalates into dehumanization.
We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We've seen the return of isolationist sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.
Where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs, and drug trafficking tend to emerge. In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have great advantage, to renew our country, we only need to remember our values.