America’s unhappy birthday.

As the nation celebrated its 232nd birthday, people across America were more worried about how much is “wrong right now.” The AP writes, “The nation’s psyche is battered and bruised, the sense of pessimism palpable.” An example in its report from the Optimist Club in Gilbert, AZ:

They use words such as “terrified,” “disgusted” and “scary” to describe what one calls “this mess” we Americans find ourselves in. … 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 aid 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.


A May Washington Post-ABC News poll found that nearly “seven in 10 Americans are worried about maintaining their standard of living,” and a separate ABC poll showed economic anxiety at its “highest level on record since 1981.”