-- It is a great time to be in America.
Yes, I just said that. And I am not trying to signal some campaign slogan like "Make America Great Again" or "America Is Great.”
I am saying we are at a moment in our history that is an awesome time to be in this country. As we move into the New Year, and as President Obama is about to give his final State of the Union, this seems like an opportune time to reflect.
Before you accuse me of having my head buried in the sand, or trying to defend the status quo or, worse, needing medication, let me explain.
I understand that we are at a time of incredible anxiety, frustration and, in many places, anger. I get that our economic system for more than a generation hasn't helped in any meaningful way the vast majority of our citizens.
I get that terrorism confronts us in a historical way around the world and in our homeland, in addition to mass shootings that have become all too common place in our society. I see that our news institutions have broken down, and there has been a rise in the delivery of information as if we are tribal.
And I know that our political institutions, including the two stagnant political parties, are immensely dysfunctional and don't allow for a consistent embrace of the common good.
I am a realist, and the negative above is very clear to me. But I am also an idealist (and aware of history) who knows that in times like these, with incredible disruption and destruction, we discover new models, new ways and new methods. When citizens are satisfied with the status quo, then nothing changes.
We are dissatisfied today, and that is when change can come. We each just have to make sure the change is the good kind that takes us forward, and not the kind of change that takes us backward. When Mount St. Helens erupted, it caused tremendous damage and havoc, but it allowed a whole new breed of plant life and flowers to grow in its aftermath. We are at that time.
I have come up with my list of five reasons why it is a great time to be in America, and I would also love to hear the reasons why you think today is a wonderful time in U.S. history.
1. We are at a moment where we can refashion political models, in ways that meet the needs and dreams of the whole of the American public. Today fewer people see themselves as Republicans or Democrats than ever before. The two leading candidates for their nominations (Trump and Clinton) are the most distrusted and disliked candidates running in a general election.
More people today have an unfavorable view of the two incumbent parties, and want something else. All this can be an accelerator toward a better place. The opportunity to create something new is more available than ever before.
That is an exciting opportunity to move in a new direction, and fashion a structure that works for all Americans. And this new political model won't be a top-down candidate or system, but will grow organically locally and in the 50 states.
2. The barriers to communication are as few and as low than ever before. Because of the rise of new media institutions, social media and the Internet, we no longer have to rely on top-down messaging and a large expense of money to get our message out.
Advertising in both politics and products is as ineffective as ever. This gives a chance for many of us to communicate with each other with authenticity, using little effort and at very low expense. It gives each of us the ability to connect with whom we want and when we want and not have to depend on large institutions. It gives us more freedom to discover the truth and then relay that to one another.
3. The power of the individual and the desire for community is at an all-time high. Individuals have more choices today (outside of politics, but that is coming) on where they live, what and how they buy, and what they want than all of history. We finally are at a time where, because of technology and choices, we can fully embrace the paradox of respect for individualism and hunger for collective action on big issues.
And we can find a balance between the two instead of being forced by old institutions to make a false choice between the two. We each have more power now as individuals to create change both by ourselves and as a group.
4. There is a tremendous rise in entrepreneurship. This growth entrepreneurship exists both in business as well in social structures. Innovation from these entrepreneurs is the wave of the future and the present. More people today are starting enterprises to provide the products and services, in whole new ways, that satisfy the demands of the American public that weren't met by the old ones.
In addition, social entrepreneurs are more and more coming on the scene to solve society's inherent problems that government, corporate and large philanthropy hasn't been able to address. Go to any city or town in America and folks are fashioning new ways to address traffic, health care, hunger and housing.
Entrepreneurs aren't waiting for an old institution to address it, they are doing it themselves. We no longer have to make the false choice between capitalism and social consciousness, we can do both simultaneously.
5. Many Americans are understanding a more simple life not only helps our planet and each other, but resets our priorities in a way that gives us more joy in the moments that matter. Many Americans realize that for all of the buying they have done, they aren't any happier. They are asking themselves, and their families, do I really need that huge house? Where do they most feel at home?
Do all the products they have give them a sense of peace or does it cause more stress? Am I happier distracting myself or do I want to build memories with loved ones? What really brings me peace? What is my purpose? These and many more questions are being asked by people across America, and they are changing their lives one person at a time.
Yes, I believe it is a great time to be in America. We have so much power today to remake the landscape in ways that help each other, and come out the other side with more joy and satisfaction in our lives. The only question is if and when we come to this realization, and then stepping out. If we can just lay down our fears, and embrace the times and strength that we all have but might be unaware of.
It is time our leaders pointed to this moment, and maybe follow some of us who are already on the move.
What are the ways you see this as a great time? And how would you like our leaders, including President Obama, to talk about this either at the Rotunda of the United States Capital or in the rooms of coffee shops across our great land? As the song says, "The future's so bright, I got to wear shades!"
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.