OurValues.org readers are weighing in this week with picks for the Top Values-related Stories of 2008, supporting or adding to the two I proposed: requiem for the free market (Monday) and Obama’s election (Tuesday).
Today and tomorrow as we cross the threshold into 2009, I’m asking if you see patterns in all of this.
I think there’s a pattern to everything we’ve picked so far. Everything’s connected. What we’re observing is the transition between phases in a cycle that recurs in American history, as political scientists and sociologists have noticed before.
In one phase, private business interests rule the land. This is a time of deregulation, abnormal profits, excessively free markets, unbridled greed, and the appearance of corruption, corporate crime, scandal, and violations of moral values that we hold dear.
So, right on cue in this unfolding drama, we have Bernard Madoff, architect of the just-uncovered multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. And let’s not forget former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Oh yes, we have obscene oil company profits. The background music in this drama is greed – Greg’s pick for the number one story of 2008.
The next phase – reform – begins when we’ve had it!. When we can’t take it anymore. But we need a reformer to lead the charge.
Cue Obama. “The number one story of 2008,” wrote another Greg (Greg Peterson), “was definitely the election of Barack Obama — America’s first black president who hopefully will the fight “politics as usual” malaise that tends to engulf those who arrive in D.C. with dreams of doing the right thing.”
Finally, what are we yearning for? Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., says that at the start of the reformation phase, we “grow bored with selfish motives and vistas, weary of materialism as the ultimate goal … People begin to seek meaning in life beyond themselves.”
And so we have what David Crumm marked as the top story of 2008: spirituality. “Although not all Americans are comfortable with this, 2008 will rank as a year when major voices within Christianity (and other global faiths) called for an inclusive rethinking of the boundaries of faith. This is an American story because much of this conversation happened in the U.S. for an American audience.”
What do you think?
Do you see the same pattern?
What else supports it – or refutes it?
Please, add a Comment, even if it’s brief.
Or, if you prefer, drop us a quick Email.