War is over if you want it

April 7, 2009: 11:47 AM ET

optimismOkay, I hear you. You're sick of the bad vibes. You want to get your collective head out of the community toilet. Stuff you're tired of hearing about: bailouts, stinky hedge fund shenanigans, executive compensation, retention bonuses for guys who weren't retained, criminal excesses by shady Wall Street buttheads, economic prognostications offered by those who didn't prognosticate anything when it needed to be prognosticated.

You're ready to move on. The innate optimism of the American spirit is beginning to bubble bigtime within your breast. Enough of this gloom and doom! It's time to have a burger, down a couple of brewskies, hit the new ground running.

You're not stupid, of course. You see the unemployment rate. You see the sales figures for the first quarter. You know that if you look, there is dismal swamp as far as the eye can see. But maybe not. Not for those who see just beyond that grim horizon. Over that rim, there is dawn, the kind of light that only those who look can perceive.

Proof of this fact comes in a new poll from CBS News and the New York Times. The Times reports that:

"... the number of people who said they thought the country was headed in the right direction jumped from 15 percent in mid-January, just before Mr. Obama took office, to 39 percent today, while the number who said it was headed in the wrong direction dropped to 53 percent from 79 percent. That is the highest percentage of Americans who said the country was headed in the right direction since 42 percent said so in February 2005..."

This tiny new embryo of optimism is fragile. A vast majority of people are still worried about their jobs and are cutting expenses back as much as possible. That's just common sense.

But you know how it is. One of our national characteristics is a certain kind of creative Attention Deficit Disorder. We can't stay any one way for very long. And we've been in the dumps for quite some time now.

Disregarding stupidity and evil for a moment, a huge element of what got us here is pure psychology and decay in attitude. Repair that, ladies and gentleman, and the rest will surely follow. And you know. Even if it doesn't, getting there just might be a whole lot more fun.

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