Americans’ unhappy birthday: ‘Too much wrong right now’, by Pauline Arrillaga, AP via Yahoo! News.
. . . talk turns to the state of the Union, and the [Gilbert, Ariz., chapter of the Optimist Club] become decidedly bleak.
They use words such as “terrified,” “disgusted” and “scary” to describe what one calls “this mess” we Americans find ourselves in. Then comes the list of problems constituting the mess: a protracted war, $4-a-gallon gas, soaring food prices, uncertainty about jobs, an erratic stock market, a tougher housing market, and so on and so forth.
One member’s son is serving his second tour in Iraq. Another speaks of a daughter who’s lost her job in the mortgage industry and a son in construction whose salary was slashed. Still another mentions a friend who can barely afford gas.
Joanne Kontak, 60, an elementary school lunch aide inducted just this day as an Optimist, sums things up like this: “There’s just entirely too much wrong right now.”
Happy birthday, America? This year, we’re not so sure.
The nation’s psyche is battered and bruised, the sense of pessimism palpable. Young or old, Republican or Democrat, economically stable or struggling, Americans are questioning where they are and where they are going. And they wonder who or what might ride to their rescue.
These are more than mere gripes, but rather an expression of fears — concerns reflected not only in the many recent polls that show consumer confidence plummeting, personal happiness waning and more folks worrying that the country is headed in the wrong direction, but also in conversations happening all across the land.
“There are so many things you have to do to survive now,” says Larue Lawson of Forest Park, Ill. “It used to be just clothes on your back, food on the table and a roof over your head. Now, it’s everything.
“I wish it was just simpler.”
Lawson, mind you, is all of 16 years old.
Then there’s this from Sherry White in Orlando, Fla., who has a half-century in years and experience on the teenager:
“There is a sense of helplessness everywhere you look. It’s like you’re stuck in one spot, and you can’t do anything about it.”
I also direct you to the website of US Senator Bernie Sanders, who is documenting The Collapse of the Middle Class: Letters from Vermont and America.
What did you all do with your Fourth of July weekend? Did you travel somewhere, or did you have a stay-ca-tion like I did? For the non-Americans in the house, was this just another Friday, Saturday and Sunday for you?
“Okay guys, one more thing, this summer when you’re being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don’t forget what you’re celebrating, and that’s the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”
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