Feeling Down? You're Not Alone

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Feel depressed, gloomy, even? About the state of the world or the state of this country, I mean. You're not alone. In fact, a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll says those of us who fear the sky is falling are in the vast majority.

It doesn't matter if we're black, white, male, or female (although women and minorities have a history of feeling less sanguine about their situations than white men--probably because they're less well-off financially on average). Only 25 percent of us tell pollsters we believe "things in the U.S. are going in the right direction. ...That is about the lowest level of satisfaction detected since the survey started in December 2003."

What's the reason? The most prevalent, of course, is the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the daily media reports of a war that is producing no positive results, killing off thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and costing this nation untold billions. The next most popular reason is "poor leadership" (to wit, neither Republicans nor Democrats having the courage to find a way out of Iraq for us that doesn't put us in a worse situation than before we invaded). The AP reports, "Nine percent faulted the economy, 8 percent a loss of moral values, and 5 percent gasoline prices."

I'd like to add a few of my personal favorites. On the economic front, the recent rapid run-up in stock prices scares the dickens out of me. It seems irrational and cause for a coming crash. I also think government reports on inflation are woefully lacking in accurate data on the rising cost of living. Look what's happened to real estate, gas prices (which drive up the cost of everything else), food, etc. How can inflation possibly still be in the low single digits? It doesn't make sense.

Lastly, there's the lack of political or public will to address climate change and our doomed dependence on foreign oil, in any meaningful way. Left unaddressed, these problems could bring the end not just to American global dominance but to the entire globe. No wonder we're bummed!