« | »

AP Bawls: ‘Too Much Wrong Right Now’

Any holiday can be turned into a topic of gloom and doom by the Associated Press:

A trader holds his head as another reads a paper after markets closed in the natural gas feature pit of the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York June 6, 2008.

Americans’ unhappy birthday: ‘Too much wrong right now’

By PAULINE ARRILLAGA, AP National Writer

Even folks in the Optimist Club are having a tough time toeing an upbeat line these days.

Eighteen members of the volunteer organization’s Gilbert, Ariz., chapter have gathered, a few days before this nation’s 232nd birthday, to focus on the positive: Their book drive for schoolchildren and an Independence Day project to place American flags along the streets of one neighborhood.

They beam through the Pledge of Allegiance, applaud each other’s good news — a house that recently sold despite Arizona’s down market, and one member’s valiant battle with cancer. "I didn’t die," she says as the others cheer.

But then talk turns to the state of the Union, and the Optimists become decidedly bleak.

They use words such as "terrified," "disgusted" and "scary" to describe what one calls "this mess" we Americans find ourselves in. Then comes the list of problems constituting the mess: a protracted war, $4-a-gallon gas, soaring food prices, uncertainty about jobs, an erratic stock market, a tougher housing market, and so on and so forth.

One member’s son is serving his second tour in Iraq. Another speaks of a daughter who’s lost her job in the mortgage industry and a son in construction whose salary was slashed. Still another mentions a friend who can barely afford gas.

Joanne Kontak, 60, an elementary school lunch aide inducted just this day as an Optimist, sums things up like this: "There’s just entirely too much wrong right now."

Happy birthday, America? This year, we’re not so sure.

The nation’s psyche is battered and bruised, the sense of pessimism palpable. Young or old, Republican or Democrat, economically stable or struggling, Americans are questioning where they are and where they are going. And they wonder who or what might ride to their rescue.

These are more than mere gripes, but rather an expression of fears — concerns reflected not only in the many recent polls that show consumer confidence plummeting, personal happiness waning and more folks worrying that the country is headed in the wrong direction, but also in conversations happening all across the land.

"There are so many things you have to do to survive now," says Larue Lawson of Forest Park, Ill. "It used to be just clothes on your back, food on the table and a roof over your head. Now, it’s everything.

"I wish it was just simpler."

Lawson, mind you, is all of 16 years old.

Then there’s this from Sherry White in Orlando, Fla., who has a half-century in years and experience on the teenager:

"There is a sense of helplessness everywhere you look. It’s like you’re stuck in one spot, and you can’t do anything about it." …

Stay-at-home-mom Heather Hammack grapples with tough decisions daily about how to spend her family’s dwindling income in the face of rising food costs. One day, she priced strawberries at $1.75. The next day, they were $2.28.

"I could cry," she responds when asked how things are.

"We used to have more money than we knew what to do with. Now, I have to decide: Do I pay the electric this week? Do I pay for gas? Do I get groceries?" says Hammack, 24, who lives with her boyfriend, a window installer, and their 5-year-old son in a rented home in rural Rowlesburg, W.Va. "You can’t get ahead. You can’t save money. You can’t buy a house. It just stinks." …

Those feelings, coupled with government corruption scandals, lingering doubts over whether the Iraq war was justified, even memories of the chaotic response to Hurricane Katrina, have culminated in an erosion of our customary faith that elected leaders can get us out of a jam.

Says Arizona retiree Dian Kinsman: "You have no faith in anybody at the top. I don’t trust anybody, and I’m really disgusted about it."

Stoking the furor is that Americans seem to feel helpless. After all, how can the average Joe or Jane control the price of gas or end the war?

Such anxieties have concrete implications — affecting how we spend, how we vote and whether we are willing to take risks…

Perhaps, out of these trying days, we may see a more comprehensive energy policy, a sooner-than-later resolution of the war and, even, a more profound sense of personal responsibility — the motivation we needed to spend within our means, or make use of car-pool lanes and mass transit

"Forget the mistakes of the past," they chime in unison, "and press on to the greater achievements of the future."

In the end, that’s what the Optimists do. They get their troubles off their chests, debate possible solutions — and then move on to doing what they can to make some positive changes in their communities, and in their own lives.

A birthday lesson for all Americans, perhaps.

Mind you, this purports to be "news" and not an editorial from a depression clinic habitué.

The gentle folks at the Associated Press never take a day off from talking down the country.

Anyway, not in an election year with the GOP in the White House.

The DNC are stern task masters.

Americans are questioning where they are and where they are going. And they wonder who or what might ride to their rescue.

For goodness sakes, out with it. We know you mean Mr. Obama.

Perhaps, out of these trying days, we may see a more comprehensive energy policy, a sooner-than-later resolution of the war and, even, a more profound sense of personal responsibility — the motivation we needed to spend within our means, or make use of car-pool lanes and mass transit.

Remember, this is supposed to be a "news" story. Not an Obama campaign speech or a Jeremiah Wright jeremiad.

A birthday lesson for all Americans, perhaps.

Remember when journalists used to report the news instead of giving us "lessons"?

But the AP have no shame.

And of course they are not alone. For notice the Reuters photo and caption at the top of the article.

When was the last time you ever saw our media watchdogs show any concern for stock traders or commodity brokers?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, July 5th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “AP Bawls: ‘Too Much Wrong Right Now’”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.


« Front Page | To Top
« | »