Who is responsible for this "values cliff" and how do we get back on track to a shared expectation of decency, responsibility and citizenship that we all can say is the real America of our traditions, aspirations, hopes and dreams?
The fact is that the world loves what America represents: freedom, wealth, popular culture, and materialism. Most of the world wants what we have. And, by gosh, we're going to give it to them, the good, bad, and the ugly, whether they like it or not.
55% of Latino immigrants say they came to this country primarily for economic reasons; logic suggests that people with this motivation are going to embrace the effort required to improve their economic situation.
Is the primary job of a parent to give our kids every possible opportunity to prove themselves tiny geniuses (the American model), or is it our job to make them self-sufficient and confident citizens (the more European model)? I'm not sure that we can do both at the same time.
The world's second-largest hardware chain, Lowe's, proudly displays the slogan "Let's Build Something Together." However, the company's recent actions suggest this togetherness might not include Muslim-Americans.
China will not easily capture hearts and minds. They will be an economic superpower only. The Chinese are ethnocentric and in large ways and small, an instinct to narrowly defend interests can be off putting.
The fall of college football icon Joe Paterno continues to be America's most-watched story. Why does the chronicle of yet another fallen hero resonate with us? What does this say about the pulse of America?
As we debate our nation's future, only our shared values can take us where we want to go. They have helped us to thrive as a nation, end slavery, improve civil liberties, cultivate the American Dream and become the envy of the world.
The current global economy is in fact an "un-economy": it's unfair, unsustainable, unstable, and is making many people unhappy. Opportunity is a lost hope for many, as social mobility in America is now less than in Western Europe.
The link between economic growth and inequality is something that conservative politicians push at us all the time. Unfortunately for the Right, the relationship between values, prosperity and power is not quite as they would have it.