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Before Barack Obama took office, it looked like that pride could have vanished forever, but today, from the staggering depths of the Great Recession, the nation has had 29 straight months of job growth. Workers across my state and across the country are getting back the dignity of a good job and a good salary.
Ours was a very progressive Protestant family, but my parents were God-loving rather than God-fearing. We went to church, and I still go with my mum and dad when I return home - it's a family thing. I played flute in my dad's marching band, but I had an integrated upbringing. We had a lot of Catholic friends.
It would no doubt be very sentimental to argue - but I would argue it nevertheless - that the peculiar combination of joy and sadness in bell music - both of clock chimes, and of change-ringing - is very typical of England. It is of a piece with the irony in which English people habitually address one another.