According to a new poll of over 3,000 people conducted in August by the American Psychological Association, 59% of Americans — that would be a majority — think this is the “lowest point in the nation’s history that they can remember.”
Now maybe the qualifier “that they can remember” is important here, but some of the other results of the poll indicate a sense of entitlement in this country born of a shortsighted and disturbing understanding of history, and a possible need to make up things to worry about (because the real worrisome things are too scary, remote, or statistically improbable, perhaps?).
[Sixty-three] percent, say they are stressed about the nation’s future, according to the poll.
Nearly three-quarters of Democrats, 73 percent, say they are stressed about the future of the nation, compared to 56 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they were stressed about the social divisiveness in the country today.
Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they were stressed about health care, 35 percent said they were stressed about the economy and 32 percent listed trust in the government as a cause of stress.
According to the poll, 51 percent of Americans say they have been inspired to volunteer due to the current state of the nation.
Have we become so bored? Entitlement — and we are entitled in this country, despite the current victim mentality so prevalent in some corners of the national psyche — has a way of softening the natural edges of a race that has evolved and civilized through physical prowess and the will to kill, both to eat as well as to survive.
We’ve become so soft in our lives that we are beginning to imagine dangers that, instinctively, we know must exist because they always have.
Well rest assured, America: those dangers are still out there. Here’s a smattering of what they look like in an ironic attempt to ease your fears by proving that things could always be worse. And have been in the not very distant past. Just check out the Wikipedia page for highest death tolls of Americans. I’ve included a screen cap of maybe an 1/8th of the page:
Then, of course, there’s slavery, which lasted in this country over 300 years and was certainly a more difficult situation than any most people living in this country today will ever have to face:
Slave owners sought to make their slaves completely dependent on them, and a system of restrictive codes governed life among slaves. They were prohibited from learning to read and write, and their behavior and movement was restricted. Many masters took sexual liberties with slave women, and rewarded obedient slave behavior with favors, while rebellious slaves were brutally punished. A strict hierarchy among slaves (from privileged house slaves and skilled artisans down to lowly field hands) helped keep them divided and less likely to organize against their masters. Slave marriages had no legal basis, but slaves did marry and raise large families; most slave owners encouraged this practice, but nonetheless did not hesitate to divide slave families by sale or removal.
Let’s not forget what those enterprising Americans, bitten by manifest destiny, went through to settle the American Western frontier:
“To enjoy such a trip … a man must be able to endure heat like a Salamander, mud and water like a muskrat, dust like a toad, and labor like a jackass. He must learn to eat with his unwashed fingers, drink out of the same vessel as his mules, sleep on the ground when it rains, and share his blanket with vermin, and have patience with musketoes … he must cease to think, except of where he may find grass and water and a good camping place. It is hardship without glory.”
— Anonymous Settler writing in the St. Joseph, Missouri GAZETTE
And so many others. The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, both of The Great Wars, the 1918 Flu Pandemic (life expectancy dropped in America by 12 years!), surviving Woodrow Wilson (I’m not joking), the carnage of 9/11, etc. etc. etc.
What’s slightly horrifying is the thought that if the divisiveness of the political landscape – which likely plays a role in how demoralized people feel (and you can thank the media for that) — is all it takes to make people forget how good they have it in America today, what’s it going to take to make them remember?
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