America passed its most significant stress test in a century this week, the system worked as intended even though prognostications weren’t that great.

The results didn’t come through in the order we expected, it took longer than we expected, it was closer than we expected, but in the end it worked out. Whichever side you were on, that’s precisely the point to celebrate even in the face of potential permanent damage to our democracy and giant uncertainties ahead.

On our TV screens, the diligence and the competency of the bureaucrats in America at every level was such a refreshing site to see over this past week, after four years of utter chaos and losing hope about, well, just about everything in this country except maybe the stock market.

The wheels and gears of democracy may have been rusty from disuse, but in the end it worked. That itself should be a huge shot of optimism heard among all the decent people around the world.

Yes, I know, the other half who didn’t vote for the winning guy. They’ll come along, what unites us is truly more than what divides us, we just forgot that in the bubbles we’ve created for ourselves. We have to win them over with competence of execution. And forgiveness and healing on all sides. Yes, those words we haven’t really meant in a long, long time.

Yes, I know, that raging virus thing too. One thing the pandemic models in U.S. and the world didn’t take into account: this change in Presidential leadership in America & the possibility and effectiveness of a global coordinated response from here on. Atrocious management fucked it up for U.S. and most Western countries, good management can be game changer for us.

For many parts of the U.S. travel industry, particularly the thousands of small businesses that inhabit every part of travel ecosystem, this may have come too late, but not everything is lost. The image of America that has been sullied over the last four years and the keepers of our country’s brand have a giant task ahead, but at least it is the start of the chance to rebuild again.

The shoots of innovation and optimism even in these locked-down febrile times for the travel industry has been a wonder to see for a realist like me, even in the depths of despair earlier this spring and summer. If we all knew where to look, the fecundity of innovation in travel wasn’t lying fallow, it was just waiting for that first day of sunshine to show through.

This morning of optimism will take us far, that much I sincerely believe. America can still do lots of good in the world if done by right leadership.

Smell the fresh air that is starting to recirculate again.

Watch “The Way I See It” if you haven’t, and you’ll get your sense of wonder about decency, competency and camaraderie back, I promise you.

Wake up, U.S. travel industry, we’ve got shit tons of work to do. The world’s watching …

Rafat Ali
Founder & CEO, Skift

Tags: politics
Photo Credit: SAM 28000, one of the two VC-25As used as Air Force One, flying over Mount Rushmore in February 2001. U.S. Air Force / Wikipedia