The new thing the media keep telling us is “How many days before the election?” Where are we now, 43 days left? I don’t remember previous elections having this particular focus on a countdown, at least not this far out. It seems to have been imported from the Shopping Days Till Christmas school of journalism. But this shopping season is essentially over, it’s going to be Obama under the tree, barring a last minute shopper panic attack. And we are going to realize that he’s the pres-(id)ent we wanted after all.

So I’m going to skip the rest of the election season and talk about What Comes Next?” This is vastly more interesting, and important. First will be the re-formulation of the Republican Party, out of demographic and rationality necessity, and it will be a good thing for them and the country. A conservatism that is not repellant to a thinking person would be a real benefit to have around. I might even sign up. Next is we continue to crawl our way out of the recession, deal with the deficits, and find a way for Americans to build decent lives in a cutthroat marketplace that is being transformed beyond recognition by globalization and technology, which is only going to accelerate.. Oh. And advocate for freedom around the world. Anything else?

YES! Because as great as freedom and prosperity are, and they’re PRETTY GREAT, they merely make you able to live the life you ought to live. See how I snuck the “ought” in there? Because there are things we need to attend to. Things that are about us, but in a larger sense. Things we’ve put off and ignored since the 1980’s-themed worship of possessions. (Whoever dies with the most toys wins. Inspiring life goal?). It was a fun-filled historical detour, but now we wake up to discover that our abandoned project to protect the life fabric of the planet is spiraling into the abyss, and we, eventually, will be dragged down with it. There. That’s “What Comes Next” on humanity’s to-do list. Starting with? Carbon, species, and habitat. Let me repeat that, in this environment of short attention spans. CARBON, SPECIES AND HABITAT. The science has been done. Now comes the work. Let’s get started. In 43 days.