U.S. Mind-Set

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In "Our National Funk" [August 6], Michael Barone spins the Pew Global Attitudes Project poll into a partisan issue.

So "almost all" the Democrats are unhappy about the nation's future, and the country should be kvelling that we have not repeated 9/11 and the economy is growing? Reality tells us that the time between the first and second World Trade Center attacks was eight years; our enemies are nothing if not patient. Should we be patting ourselves on the backs for making it to six? There is also the simple fact that real wages have not done well, even though corporate profits have done so. Remember that Bush's first term was the first time since Herbert Hoover that a president ended his term with fewer jobs than when he started. In this case, sometimes belief that the country needs a change of course is not simply a partisan thing.

David J. Melvin


Chester , N.J.  

I believe that there is more to happiness than just money. Even in these good times, middle-class wages are relatively stagnant while the cost of almost everything from gas to healthcare keeps going up. Also, our national morale depends on how we feel about ourselves as Americans. Today, we pre-emptively invade other countries, imprison and torture our enemies, and spy on our own people. Billions of dollars have gone to rebuild Iraq while our own infrastructure decays and collapses.

Alex Stanioch


University Place, Wash.  

Barone does not mention the Iraq war as a major factor in the prevalent pessimism he discusses. Four and a half years old and failing with no good end in sight are hardly causes for optimism. No mention of the obvious Iraq problem is an omission significant by its very absence.

Joseph R. Valinoti


Port Washington , N.Y.  

Barone's oh-so-gentle chastisement of the American people for our lack of pluckiness was beautifully juxtaposed with Mortimer B. Zuckerman's "The Golden Age Is Ending" [August 6], a realistic analysis of our national situation, showing who is truly "in tension with reality."

David Wilson


Saratoga Springs , Utah