Even while Americans focus on things like war, Iran, and high gas prices, its good to know that there are some positive things happening in America. For decades, conservatives have battled things like abortion, teen pregnancy, and a faulty education system. Its encouraging to know that things have indeed improved, and that the hard work in Americas culture war has been paying off after all.
Last month in the Washington Post, the director of the White Houses Office of Strategic Initiatives, Peter Wehner, wrote:
...We hear hardly anything about the encouraging developments. Off-key as it may sound in the current environment, a strong case can be made that in a number of areas there are positive trends and considerable progress.
First he looked at the social indicators that should give Americans hope:
- Violent crime is at its lowest levels since the Bureau of Justice Statistics started its survey in 1973. (2004 latest)
- Teen crime has been on a healthy decline. (2003 latest)
- Welfare caseloads have dropped significantly since 1996.
- Abortion numbers and ratios are on a downward slide.
- Teen pregnancies are down. (2003 latest)
- Teen drug use is down. (2005 latest)
- Black and Hispanic 4th graders test scores are up. (2005 latest)
- Even the divorce rate is down. (2004 latest)
Yet there are still some problems. Wehner says:
Births to unmarried women are at an all-time high, and in many respects our popular culture remains a cesspool. But context is important. Between 1960 and the mid-90s virtually every social indicator got worse - and in many cases staggeringly worse. Then things began to turn around, almost as if a cultural virus created its own antibodies.
Next he looked at economic indicators:
- The economy is strong and growing.
- The past 3 years have seen 5.3 million new jobs.
- The unemployment rate is low at 4.6%.
- Mortgage rates are down.
- Home ownership is way up (record rates).
- Real disposable income per person is up 13% since 2001.
- The Down Jones rose from 7300 in 2002 to over 11,000 for most of 2006 so far.
- Tax revenues are at an all-time high. [Congress is talented at spending it all, unfortunately.]
- Household net worth is also at an all-time high.
He finished with a broad look at National Security and the state of the world:
- Afghanistan and Iraq have both adopted constitutions and now hold free elections.
- The situation in the Middle East has improved in many ways during the past 30 years:
Kuwaits parliament has granted full political rights to women. Arab intellectuals are pushing for a rapid acceleration of democratic reform. After almost 30 years, Syrian troops left Lebanon in response to the Cedar Revolution. And Libya has abandoned its program of weapons of mass destruction. The biggest nuclear-smuggling ring in history, run by Pakistans A.Q. Khan, is being rolled up. The government of Pakistan has cast its lot with us against al-Qaeda. Islamic terrorists have been denied sanctuaries, their networks are being broken up, their leaders are being incapacitated and they are on the run. Our homeland has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001. And we have set aside decades of mistrust to put relations with India, the worlds most populous democracy, on a new and fruitful path.
There are still plenty of battles to fight. The war has not been won, but there is progress being made. We always have to remember that ultimately, we are in a spiritual battle. But, the commander of our armies is the God of the universe, and His power can reach into the lives of even the most desperate drug addict or the most hate-filled terrorist. Lets keep fighting - and praying - for our country.