"It’s not just infrastructure where we must rebuild our sense of great national purpose: virtually every measure shows that we’re falling behind. Today the United States is ranked 10th in global competitiveness among the G20 countries. America is now 12th worldwide in the percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds with a college degree, trailing, among others, Russia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Israel. This year investors have pulled $74 billion out of domestic stock funds and put $42 billion into foreign stock funds. High-profile multinational companies including Applied Materials and IBM are already opening major R&D centers in China. And as we look to the Googles of the future, it is increasingly possible that they will be founded by students from Tianjin University, rather than MIT or Stanford.
"We need to face up these new challenges-- not just as individuals or separate interests, but as a nation with a national purpose. The world of the next generation will change too rapidly for political parties to focus too narrowly on the next election. And the 21st Century can be another American century-- but only if we restore a larger sense of responsibility and replace the clattering cacophony of the perpetual campaign with a wider discussion of what is best for our country."
The above is part of a speech given by Sen. John Kerry today, partly in reflection on Saturday's tragedy, partly in reflection on where we are as a country, and where we're going. The whole speech is worth a few minutes of your time. You can read it at the Washington Post.