Pollyanna versus Gloomy Gus

Since I so often fill this space with depressing observations, I’m going to begin this week by indulging my inner Pollyanna.

My (non-scientific) theory is that the rash of efforts we are seeing around the country to break the backs of unions, ensconce anti-gay laws in state constitutions, and weaken government oversight of everything from financial institutions (the “banksters”) to the environment are motivated by a recognition on the part of the proponents of these measures that their window of opportunity to get the job done is fast closing.

It remains important to explain what is wrong and troubling about all of these assaults. (There is a very  good, very clear analysis of RTW here, for example.) But those of us who are astonished by the vitriol with which many of these measures are being pursued need to recognize that the sense of urgency being displayed by their proponents reflects a genuine reality: the culture is changing and they know it.

Bashing gays and union members, dismissing environmental concerns as evidence of “tree-hugging,” and characterizing all government action as “socialism” won’t have much traction in the America that is emerging.

I just wish it would emerge a bit faster.