Americans Can't Get No Satisfaction

A recent Gallup poll found an astonishing 91% of Americans who are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States.

That's a pretty sobering number. And if Mr. Gallup had asked me whether I was satisfied or dissatisfied with how things were going in our country, I would probably have to go with the majority in this case. Despite the fact that my personal life couldn't be better (aside from the fact that I've lost so much in my retirement fund that I will have to continue working until I am 106-years-old just to get back even), I understand that things could be a lot better. The White Sox could have taken those bums from Tampa. My Beloved Bears could be undefeated. The Blackhawks could try and actually field a professional hockey team this year.

But these are minor irritants, hardly worth mentioning to such an august personage as Mr. Gallup. So I would probably have to swallow my home team disappointments and go along with the 91% of us who think things are pretty sucky right now in the US of A.

What is their number one reason for feeling that life in America is not all it should be? Well, 69% of respondents said it was the economy that was giving them the vapors about the US.

This is a surprise, right?

No, it isn't. But what is really mind-boggling is that there were 9% of us who actually think things are pretty hunky-dory right now. Translated into numbers, that's around 16 million adults who find no cause to stop the party and put on a grumpy face. Sixteen million Americans are so oblivious to what is going on in the world that they probably don't even know what date it is. Do they know who the president is? Not that it matters. The guy who's snoozing away in the White House right now sits at a 25% approval rating. How 45 million adults can approve of economic Armageddon is beyond me. I suppose if I was a short-seller in the market these last few weeks I'd be pretty satisfied right now — and happy with the job Bush was doing.

Frankly, I don't think there's a connection between the two. The rich may be satisfied with their own situation but they are probably smart enough to figure out there are a lot of things going wrong all of a sudden — especially if they've gotten a frantic call or two from their broker or trust manager in the last couple of weeks. Maybe there are people who didn't understand the question. Perhaps they're hard of hearing.

Really now, who are these 16 million optimists?

I didn't have far to go to find some. They are all over the blogosphere commenting on what they really believe is going on in America. To a few of us, this isn't just a manufactured crisis; it's a plot — a dastardly plan to torpedo John McCain's candidacy. The media is in cahoots with the Democrats to suppress all the good news, not to mention burying the polls showing McCain far ahead and George Bush beloved of our countrymen. The economy really isn't all that bad, Iraq is virtually a paradise of peace and tranquility, who needs health insurance when we've got emergency rooms that won't turn anyone away, and Republicans are going to take back the House and Senate.

I wish I could say that I made all that up but I didn't. Such comments have appeared on this site from time to time and if you peruse the comment sections on other blogs, you know I write the truth (the bit about health insurance was actually uttered by a GOP House candidate in my district). Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. And reality these days can be tough to accept, especially if you're a partisan Republican.

So I would guess that the overwhelming majority of that 9% of us who are satisfied with how things are going in America simply don't want to accept that we have bitten into a gigantic crap sandwich and we'll be on a steady diet of crapola for the foreseeable future.

For the rest of us, however, we must proceed with the way things are. And if there is one constant in the polls since this crisis hit, it has been that the American people are hopping mad and looking for someone to blame.