Listing Top Values Stories of 2008: What patterns will emerge in 2009?

New Years Day 2009
Happy New Year,

n the last day of 2008, I described a pattern I see in our list of Top Values stories. The truth is, I’ve been looking for these patterns for years now. In my 2005 book, “America’s Crisis of Values,” I wrote about these patterns in a section, “Tides of American History.”
    This was long before the Barack Obama election and I quoted a famous American political observer predicting endless swings of the pendulum: “The party of conservatism and that of innovation are very old (and) have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made. … Now one, now the other gets the day, and still the fight renews itself as if for the fist time, under new names and hot personalities.”
    You know who I was quoting? No, not Wolf Blitzer or Tom Brokaw.
    It was Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1841 — way, way before Obama’s election.
    In my book, I also quote Henry Adams’ 1919 prediction that our American pendulum swings tend to last 12 years in each direction. I won’t go into all of Adams’ argument here, but he made a pretty persuasive case that he could measure the length of the swings.
    So, today — the first day of 2009 — where do you see these patterns taking us?
    Do you believe we’re still following patterns or pendulum swings?
    How far will we swing this time?
    How long will this pattern unfold?

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