Depending on your perspective, it's either comforting or terrifying how quickly things can happen. I say comforting (in a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse). This month marks five years since I moved back to Austin to take over the southwest correspondent job for The Economist. It's been a reasonably good period. I wrote hundreds of articles, went to grad school, traveled around the world, learned a lot, had a lot of fun, established habits of thought and behaviour, and considering that I ate soy yogurt for breakfast this morning, am approaching the end of my 20s with greater equanimity than I would have expected in my heedless and headstrong youth. Still, having received the following campaign email, I can't help but feel that my last five years were sort of dull:

Five years ago today, a few thousand of us gathered in Springfield, Illinois, to launch an improbable campaign for president.

The task was to build a grassroots movement capable of making the kind of change we believe in.

Isn't that weird to think about? For me it's a reminder that the signal-to-noise ratio in American politics is a little skewed. There was so much triumphalism about American democracy in the 2008 campaign, and so much anxiety now, although the underlying indicators of progress and failure haven't swerved nearly so much.

02/12/2012 11:22

A related anecdote about the passing of time: Obama could not get into the 2000 convention. 8 years later, he came on a plane with his name on it. What will you do in the next 8 years?


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