Optimism in ‘F-Words’

Political strategist Mary Matalin shares the reasons shes optimistic about the future at recent industry event.

If you focus on recent history, there’s a lot that can still bring your mood down. The economy isn’t growing as quickly as some hoped and job gains seem sluggish to many. People approaching retirement age may feel the need to keep working because of the circumstances of the last several years.

But looking forward, there are many reasons to be optimistic about where the U.S. is headed, according to Mary Matalin, a long-time political strategist for the Republican Party. Matalin, along with her husband James Carville, was a keynote speaker at the Industrial Supply Association’s annual convention in New Orleans last month.

Those reasons, Matalin says, are six “F-words”: faith, family, free market, federalism, Facebook and fracking. If we as a nation can stay focused on those F-words, she says, we can have a bright future.

While faith, family, free market and federalism are relatively self-explanatory, how she perceives the role of Facebook and fracking may not be as immediately clear. But, she says, they are essential elements of what is driving success in the U.S. now and in the future.

“Facebook is my shorthand for millennials,” Matalin says. “This is the first generation to be wholly raised in the information age, and this is the first generation to be left worse than their parents. … This generation has the least opportunity (compared to) the generations that came before, but they are the most optimistic.”

Millennials see technology as a tool, and they want to use that tool for good. They’ve grown up with innovation, and they want to share it across all aspects of their lives, she says. Businesses need to find a way to tap into that innovation and help it to thrive – and business benefits will follow.

Fracking’s direct contribution to the future of business in the U.S. is pretty clear,  particularly in today’s news climate. But what it represents, Matalin says, is independence and security. “We have more than enough to support ourselves, and those figures are always being revised upwards,” she says. “…We will have a very different foreign policy and position in the world if we develop more of our hydrocarbon sources.”

Matalin says she’s bullish on the future of America. “We’ve been through worse, and we stood up to the test,” she says. And these six F words will help drive that success.

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