Dan Brown last novel has awaken a lot of curiosity about freemasonry worldwide although one need to take into account that we face fiction, pure fiction. This is what a novel is about to take some facts, part of them true, other untrue, and build an argument about it. This is the ability that Dan Brown has and he should be congratulate for that. Everybody likes conspiracy theories an dig on it to perceive what is unknown, or less transparent. Power in any system of human relationships is based on discritency and agreement behind doors. So there is always a level for presuming that things happen for other reasons then those that we are told.
Freemasonry has had a decisive role in the foundation of the United States. In every site about the American Revolution we may find notes about the role of freemasons in the drafting and approving of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the main political decisions concerning rights of the individual. As we know today that a substantial line of US presidents were freemasons, excluding in recent times, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
There are indications that the current American President is also a Scottish Freemason. Nobody confirmed it from the official sources but there are lines in Obama discourse and Obama positions that are fond to freemasons as such. You may find also a lot of videos in Youtube proving (?) that he usually makes masonic shake-hands with other politicians (and even heads of state) that are reputed to be freemasons. Nobody knows if it is true him being a freemason; probably only when he leaves the White House and the public life we will know. Even in United States to be a Freemason is an invitation to suspicion, that he - if a public figure - may use his power for illegitimate ends.
So via Dan Brown and Obama we have a new public awareness on Freemasonry.
It is good for the Craft, as it allows new blood to come in and revigorate our Order and our ranks. It is common to see in several national constituencies the statement that Freemasonry is getting to old, being abandoned by the youth, persisting traditions that prevent young Free Men of Good Report to approach the Craft, being initiated and progress on the masonic ranks.
I am tempted to believe that a system of quotas need sometime to be installed in order that we may have, as a target, a certain balance of ages within our ranks and a breed of young people occupying the ranks of Grand Officials of the national Grand Lodges. This is a must in my view and something that should be debated and reflected in the Lodges and passed to our superiors.
We are not definitely the Roman Council of Bishops and although framed in a parallel vision of tradition as basis for authority, we don't embedded the same spirit of exclusivity and elitism. Freemasonry is more open-minded, polemical and rational, I believe.
Let us hope that this new interest on freemasonry being translated to new ways of living the royal art. Even the idea of a Grand Architect of Universe directing our destinies and works have a tremendous appeal of modernity and free-spirit in a time of return to the Middle Ages and obscuratism.