Seventy-five percent of those surveyed in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday said things are going badly in the United States.
An equal portion of those polled said they are angry about the way things are going. Two-thirds of those questioned said they're scared about the way things are going and three in four said the current conditions in the country are stressing them out.
"Prior to 2008, we have seen that level of dissatisfaction only three times in the past four decades -- during Watergate, the Iranian hostage crisis and the recession of 1992," Holland added.
Once you filter the chaff from this article, you can see what exactly is going on here: a distracted electorate gets upset anytime something goes wrong with government. Like phone lines and hospitals, government should "just work" and not require much intervention.
This is a fair request, since most people are (a) too busy (b) too disinterested in political logic and (c) not informed or mentally prepared to be involved in politics. They want people who have specialized in this area to make stuff work.
When recessions or big scandals or wars come, they freak out, and because their neighbors are freaking out too, they feedback off one another and create a giant freakout, which the media happily plays up because hey, it's new.
I have news for the freaky electorate:
- Recessions happen in cycles. We're reaping the harvest of the 1990s internet boom whirlwind. What can we do about it? Nothing. What caused it? Periodic cycles of boom and bust. Could it have been ameliorated? Sure, by some smart policies in the late Clinton and early Bush era, but they wouldn't have stopped the up-down cycle.
- Wars are never popular. However, we only find out how necessary they were fifty or one hundred years later. All discourse on Iraq/Afghanistan right now is just bloviation.
- Political scandals are small fry compared to the larger scandal, which is that our country is run by a distracted electorate manipulated by media advertising controlled by a small oligarchy of elites. What? That was difficult? Your TV will explain.
So when you see these figures, and everyone around you is freaking out, don't.
Instead, start buying undervalued stocks, make renovations to your house, strengthen your career -- do anything but freak out. Freaking out is for the silly and unrealistic.
Unfortunately, they also are the electorate, and so will perpetuate the cycle.