Are you ready for some good news? Who isn’t?
There’s no denying that the past few weeks have made staying positive a challenge for even the most enthusiastic optimist. A lot of the doom and gloom can be laid at the feet of social media that has focused on anything and everything negative.
Much of the news coverage is certainly justified. American cities burning, family stores looted and destroyed, thousands marching in the streets and the toll of a global pandemic is news, big news. But so is the economic rebound and the reopening of America that has gotten much less attention from traditional media.
In the interest of adding something positive to the political debate, here is some good news for a change.
- Retail sales rose a record 17.7 percent in May, the biggest jump since 1992, much higher than expected.
- The Fed announced that industrial production increased by 1.4 percent in May after dropping 4.6 percent in March and 12.5 percent in April.
- It was good news from the Home Builders Association as well. The Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index of builder sentiment saw the “biggest monthly surge ever, a sign housing is rebounding from coronavirus.” Builder sentiment went up an amazing 21 points this month to a level of 58. Anything over 50 is seen as positive.
- As I write this, the stock market is surging on the news that the Trump administration is considering a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, adding to what has been a remarkable rebound on Wall Street since its lows at the beginning of the pandemic.
- And then there’s the May employment rebound, which was nothing less than an economic bombshell. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the country created an astounding 2.5 million jobs last month, the largest increase in a single month since at least 1939. Economists had predicted the country would lose another 8 million jobs with the unemployment rate rising to 19.5 percent. Instead, it dropped to 13.3 percent.
- There’s been good news from the front lines in the fight to find a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19. British researchers announced the results of a major study on the effect of a steroid treatment, Dexamethasone, on the sickest patients. The scientists found that the treatment reduced deaths by a third in ventilated patients, those with the most severe complications.
The U.K. government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, called Dexamethasone a “ground-breaking development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed finding an effective treatment is truly remarkable.”
- Regeneron announced last week that the company has begun a clinical trial of an antibody cocktail for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Company president George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., said the cocktail also had the potential to “preempt viral ‘escape,’ a critical precaution in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News last week that early testing in the development of a vaccine is “going in the right direction” with clinical trials of several vaccine candidates scheduled to begin this summer. Fauci also said he is cautiously optimistic that if the process goes well and enough information shows any of the candidates is safe and effective, a vaccine could be available either by the end of the year or in early 2021.
But the good news isn’t limited solely to the economy and progress against COVID-19.
- SpaceX made history when it docked with the International Space Station two weeks ago, a first for a privately owned and built spacecraft. The perfect launch signaled the beginning of commercial flight into space, a remarkable achievement.
- Navy veteran Michael White was released after being detained by the Iranian government since 2018.
- Charitable giving by corporations, foundations and individuals reached $11.4 billion worldwide.
- NASCAR has returned, and Apple is reopening more than 70 stores.
- In a rarely seen moment, Republicans and Democrats came together to pass legislation to help small businesses and Americans weather the economic storm that would become the new normal.
This country has a nearly 250-year history of enduring great crises and coming through them stronger and more unified. We have faced dire threats from foreign enemies and summoned the courage, hope and ingenuity to defeat tyranny and restore peace. We’ve settled a great land and created the strongest economy in the world. But most of all, we have been a country that has always valued the power of the individual, endowed with certain unalienable rights, to strive and achieve.
Our belief in the inherent strength and greatness of America, despite its flaws, has been tested of late by events, from national shutdowns putting millions of people out of work to local small businesses trying to stay alive. From the terrible death of an African American man at the hands of the police to scenes of looters destroying the dreams of hardworking men and women of every color.
But we’ve also seen the other America. A country where thousands of medical professionals remind us of what America is all about, risking their lives and enduring hardship for the greater good. We’ve seen other people doing what they do best: Helping others. Manning food banks. Doing what’s right by wearing masks and social distancing. Protesting injustice where it exists and working to make the country a better place for every American to thrive.
In the summer of 1787, America’s first leaders gathered in Philadelphia to create what was to become a model for democracy around the world — the Constitution. After months of discussion and sometimes heated tempers, Ben Franklin waited his turn to put his signature on the document.
Looking across the room, he once again saw George Washington’s chair with its familiar gold sun painted on the back. He had often wondered as he listened to the debates that summer whether the sun was rising or setting. Then he rose and addressed his fellow delegates, saying, “Now I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun.”
What makes this country great are its people. You can see why America works. When we turn things over to Americans in tough times, they are resilient. It’s the spirit of the country that has always seen it through difficult and even deadly times. We don’t give up. We never have.
There is no doubt that there is serious work to be done. The events of the past two weeks are clear evidence of that. But America will overcome this crisis as it has done so many times before and be a better country for it.
David Winston is the president of The Winston Group and a longtime adviser to congressional Republicans. He previously served as the director of planning for Speaker Newt Gingrich. He advises Fortune 100 companies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations on strategic planning and public policy issues, and is an election analyst for CBS News.