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MOTR, Ep. 67: Polls Find Americans Anxious, Which Means Political Trouble

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

After a number of years of political turmoil, in the midst of bitter hyper-partisan times, during a worrisome era of record inflation and economic uncertainty as a divisive national election looms and an aged president acts like a bumbling comedy actor, the people in the Gallup organization take a series of polls.

And the findings are ominous.

Americans, with good reason, are worried about the present and their economic future as they see thousands of seniors forced out of retirement back into the labor market. They’ve lost confidence in major institutions and current leaders.

And the rate of depression among individuals is climbing at a disturbing rate.

Other than that, everything’s going along pretty well.

Facing 17 months of political campaigning designed to divide the country even further into Us and Them, the country needs a collective shrink to help many of us identify our anxieties and defuse them.

I’m not a psychiatrist, though I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. But in this week’s audio commentary, we try to sort out some of this fleck.

After listening, the Comments section will be open for VIP subscribers to offer their own diagnoses. Or read the analysis of fellow readers.

Last week’s audio commentary was No. 66 and a little offbeat. I shared my lifelong interest in and enthusiasm for things in Space spawned by a 10-second peek through a large telescope at the weirdly amazing planet of Saturn.

An excerpt:

As a little boy, I set out one very dark summer night with a large sheet of paper, a crayon, and a flashlight to make a map of the stars hovering above our rural Ohio backyard. After some time, I complained that they kept moving.

In that commentary, I look back on the amazing career of Voyager 1.

That’s the little satellite that launched from Florida 45 years ago. It had a few years of planetary chores, flying by the outer planets for photos and instrument readings. And then it headed off into the dark, cold reaches of Deep Space.

It’s still flying away, about 4,000 more miles every hour. It left our solar system 11 years ago, destination no one knows. I recommend a listen if only to marvel at the enduring technology and smarts of NASA engineers way back in the 1970s.

Oh, and just like ET, Voyager phones home, every day. Traveling at the speed of light, its messages take 22 hours to arrive at the huge dish on NASA’s Goldstone satellite farm in the Mojave Desert.

In fact, all 67 MOTR episodes are available here, as are all my other posts, including the Sunday politics columns.

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