Amid a flood of bad news, there are reasons to believe that the people of the United States and their institutions will meet the challenge.
The most apt coinage of recent years is doomscrolling. Early in the morning or late at night, you can scan through an app on your handheld device for infection numbers, test-positivity rates, and news of vaccine shortages. If your interests range more widely, you can monitor domestic-abuse and murder rates, cases of depression and anxiety, crumbling small businesses, and the lonely snuffings-out of the flickering light of life for hundreds of thousands of the aged and the vulnerable. Or you can scrutinize the latest deranged claims and incitements of a mad and evil president; statements of support made by politicians faithless to the Constitution, intellectuals unimpeded by truth, lawless lawyers, and godless pastors; and the fears of the residents of one city or another swallowing hard at warnings of riots and wild-eyed Proud Boy desperadoes toting long guns. These are cruel facts, not exaggerated one whit.
And yet, I am optimistic.
I say that having been one of the original Never Trump Republicans, who gave up on the GOP the day after the 2016 election and who warned (in these pages, primarily) of the damage and mayhem President Donald Trump would wreak. Whatever my sins, insufficient bleakness has probably not been among them.
There is surely plenty of bad news to come in the next few months—and over the next few years. But if you can force yourself to take a longer view, and if you love America as one should—wisely, and therefore not too well—you have plenty of reason for a prudent hope.