Five things I'm grateful for:
1. Bike Lanes
In DC, people put on ties and lipstick to get a midnight slurpee. The city's type A drivers -- flustered by the dastardly indirect French roadplan -- have made biking to work a Road Warrior sport. Until now. Today, showing up in the morning in Seattle styled grease stained fleece is hot! Racks are packed. Nationwide, bike transportation is up 26% and climbing. Here in DC, we have miles of new bike lanes and more planned. The bike share program is over-subscribed. Bike commuting made it to the big time this campaign season -- During the Colorado governor's race, the conservative candidate accused bike advocates of damaging American sovereignty. I don't know how my silver Jamis hybrid with armadillo tires feels about globalization, but it sure loves the new bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to Congress.
When will everybody -- including New Yorkers -- just admit their secret schadenfreude and acknowledge that California is going to save our nation? I know its a fiscal disaster, but California proved its value on November 2nd when it turned back a conservative tidal wave of money and media -- putting Democrats in office state wide. Dems also held onto their congressional seats. Calmed by the eternal waves of the Pacific (and Grateful Dead cover bands) the state is our national progress leader. Governor Jerry Brown will not allow crazy neighbor Arizona to export its O.K. Corral governing antics. To be fair, Republican Governor Schwarzenegger wouldn't sign Arizona's anti-immigrant legislation either. Watch California lead us out of climate catastrophe. If karma has any meaning at all, the state that gave us Ronald Reagan's sunny apathy as a governing philosophy will push digital citizenship into new democratic frontiers and we will all benefit.
3. Millennial Generation
Okay everybody under 30. No pressure, but you need to get fitted for a cape. We're counting on you to save the planet. Your cohort characteristics are alluring but potentially scary: activist altruism and deference to authority. My advice? Go with the altruism and you will build new mechanisms for authority. Transparency, Validation, Accountability, Trust. Your desire to be part of a larger purpose is desperately needed in today's demoralized public space. Get some experience inside of a governing institution (join the military, Peace Corps, work on the Hill) Take your experience and re-invent the world. We weary Gen X-ers covet your opportunity. We're jaded, but you should ask us for advice!
4. Washington, DC.
In this season of DC bashing, I thought I'd share some photos from a random week in your lovely capital city.
5. Tea Party Movement
This political shot across the bow might just provide the adrenaline we need to rebuild American civic life. I'm for giving the Tea Partiers a chance. But the fact that they are almost all Republicans who won with unprecedented amounts of anonymous cash makes me think that when it comes time for a real community barn-raising, they'll call Halliburton. And the dirty money won't stop in the near future. 2012 will make Tom Delay's 190K criminal offense look like a Curious George prank. Don't put away your pitchforks! We're front row at the philosophical clash of the century. Our president will keep asking his opponents to come to the table. Like he did this Wall Street record profit week -- as the Republicans snubbed his invitation and the Chamber of Commerce sulked about hurt feelings. Creating an inclusive negotiating table is Obama's job. The rest of us have to force the intransigents to sit down and cooperate. (see Millennials, above).