Americans are known for being optimists. But it doesn't take a cynic to see that our country is seriously off-track. We're upset by greedy corporate executives who line their own pockets at others' expense. Disgusted by gutless politicians who pander to special interest groups. And appalled by a culture that glorifies materialism and self-gratification. It's as if "What's in it for me?" were our national motto. No wonder so many of us feel a deep yearning for a simpler time when civility was the norm and a handshake could seal any deal. We can't turn back the clock or legislate our way out of society's malaise. But here's what wecando: Look to the bedrock values all Americans share. We may never agree on Iraq, abortion, or same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that "Our word should be our bond." For a definition of those shared values, we need look no further than the Cowboy Way. Living by a code that centers on principles like honesty, loyalty, and courage, the working cowboy is an enduring American hero - one providing just the kind of inspiration our country needs to find unity and hope in these troubled times. It's not too late for us to get back to the qualities that made America great. Cowboy Values gives us a place to start.Owen, James P. is the author of 'Cowboy Values', published 2008 under ISBN 9781599212715 and ISBN 1599212714.