NPR had a portion of "Talk of the Nation" yesterday devoted to callers impressions of the Democratic National Convention. Although I couldn't call in (I didn't listen to it until last night), I thought of what I might say. (Please bear in mind that I (along with most of the country, apparently) have NOT been watching very much of the speeches. Mostly I've been reading and watching news summaries, with video clips of the "greatest hits".)
But my impression of the DNC? America is a terrible place to live! Everyone is worried about putting food on their tables. Stressed about paying for health care. Frightened and horrified by climate change. Concerned they can't pay the mortgage next month, or college for their kids. No one is happy, content, relaxed.
How completely, utterly depressing. And not my experience at all--I might live in Happy Valley, but I live in a lower-middle-class neighborhood where many of my friends do not own the houses in which they live. And most of us are pretty happy with life most of the time.
The Democratic view I'm getting doesn't jive with my reality at all (thank goodness!) I'm telling you, the Republicans better have a more uplifting message next week, or else I'm writing in my father-in-law for president.
Empirical studies show that people that lean liberal are actually more pessimistic and people that lean conservative are more optimistic. It's almost like it's built into the nature of the way people think.
While that may explain some of the America-is-an-awful-place stuff that has come out of the Democratic convention, the bigger message is, "We know your life is awful, but WE KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOU HAPPY!" I want to run for cover anytime I hear any politician from any party present such a message.
If you think that things are generally okay, then I suspect you'll like what the RNC has to say. I don't happen to agree, though. I believe that most people are reasonably happy, but still worry about their families and their future more now than they did in the past. Some of that worrying is justified.
There's always reason for worry, kind of like there's always room for Jell-O. But when politicians undertake to present cures for the ills, it scares the willies out of me.
Cerulean Bill (by the way, I love your screen name), you have a fair point. I have only been an adult, with adult worries, for ten years. And I have a really easy comfortable life. Still, like you said, I think that most people are similarly reasonably happy. That world view did not seem to exist in the convention speeches. (Which may have been a function of the role of the challenging party, rather than the incumbents. I don't remember very much of the 2000 conventions.)
And I guess I should make clear that I don't think that there are no problems in the country. But I guess I am pretty optimistic, and the same time also pretty cynical that the federal government (or state) can fix the problems I perceive.
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