Standing around the computer, my two older daughters, nine and eleven years old, scan the picture of the city we're creating and debate whether it needs more commercial or residential development. My six-year-old son suggests we look at the city budget. In just a few weeks he has learned enough to ask the critical question: "What's the cash flow?"
Most of us like to think that our views
represent the innermost beliefs of the majority of our fellow citizens. Recent
polls may show a ridiculous preference for a position we despise, our candidates
may lose at election time, and the radio may broadcast music or talk that we
abhor. But we know that all this is ephemeral: Deep in their hearts, the
majority agree with us about what is right and good. And if they don't say so or
act accordingly just now, the trend is moving in our direction. Let those who
think differently tremble at the verdict of an awakened nation.
its founding nearly three years ago, The American Prospect has
sought to help reconstruct a plausible and persuasive liberalism.
This issue's cluster of articles concerned with a public
strategy for economic growth exemplifies that purpose:
detailed thinking about how to solve the nation's problems,
than symbolic gestures. Yet, as this political season has
us, there is another aspect to the conflict over public ideas in
America that is inevitably and properly symbolic. It is a battle
over cultural ideals, ways of life, the meaning of the past. And
Conservatives everywhere are trying to outdo each other. Cut off welfare after two years? Make that just 60 days in some states. End social benefits to illegal immigrants? Make that legal immigrants too. Add the death penalty for some federal crimes? Why not for more?