Too Much News
So, I stopped by my doctor's office for a routine visit this week and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Whatever happened to Charlie Sheen?" Ah, the good ol' days. It seems like ages since we were able to preoccupy ourselves with the daily shenanigans of a Hollywood star on the brink. He said what? Are they going to fire him? Did you read his tweets? It seems almost quaint now, doesn't it?
These days, only a few months since all those "tiger blood" and "winning" jokes, it's abundantly clear to most Americans that we are not, in fact, winning at all. An
AP poll just out shows that 73% of us feels like the country is on the wrong track. That's a huge number, and if it doesn't budge at all, President Obama's presidency will end on Inauguration Day 2013. There's the unemployment rate, the spiraling markets, the downgraded credit rating, the debt debate, the human toll of Afghanistan military helicopter crash, the UK riots, the heat in Texas, etc, etc, etc. It really is hard to wrap your head around it all.
I spoke to the Pulitzer Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin on the air last week. Maybe you were watching. She talked about the build up to the Civil War, when there was so much animosity in the swirling in the country. A Southern senator actually caused such physical harm to a colleague from the North that the injured lawmaker could not return to work for three years. Kearns Goodwin noted the anti-war demonstrations of the late 60's, that got so bad a French travel agency advertised U.S. tours with the tag line, "See America while it lasts!" Surely we are in better shape now.
A USA Today/Gallop poll shows that 60% of Americans say the members of the so-called deficit "super committee" in Congress should be willing to compromise in order to reach a deal. There's certainly every incentive for them to, since failure to reach an agreement would result in painful automatic cuts to social programs and defense spending that neither side wants. But will that threat be enough? We shall see, and just in time for the holidays too!
To quote the great Billy Joel, "The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems." Are things as bad as they seem? Probably, yes. But have we faced seemingly insurmountable odds in the past? No doubt, yes. And we've overcome them, just as we will again. We're Americans and that's what we do. We win.