Friday, August 30, 2019

"A Deep and Boiling Anger"

In this Stephen Lam/Reuters photo, counter demonstrators and supporters of President Trump fight for a U.S. flag during a March 2017 rally in Berkeley, CA. The photo appears at the head of an August 25 "NBC News/Meet the Press article about the latest NBC/Wall street Journal poll, which found that a majority of Americans "are angry at the nation's political and financial establishment, anxious about its economic future, and pessimistic about the country they're leaving for the next generation.

The complete article can be accessed at (The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted August 10-14 of 1,000 adults — more than half reached by cellphone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.)

“Four years ago, we uncovered a deep and boiling anger across the country engulfing our political system,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt. “Four years later, with a very different political leader in place, that anger remains at the same level.”

That anger and dissatisfaction remain widespread - at what once upon a time might have been considered alarming levels - is evident to the most casual observer of the contemporary American scene. What may be even more interesting in the poll results may be what they reveal about some significant shifts in important values. Thus, for example, whereas 20 years ago 70% said patriotism was very important, now only 61% do. The number citing religion as very important  decreased even more, from 62% in 1998 to 40% now. The generational difference regarding these important social values is also significantly stark. Among those 18-38, only 42% consider patriotism very important, while, of those over 55, 79% do. Regarding religion, among those under 38, only 30%  regard religion as very important, compared to 54% of those over 55. Also, ominously, only 32% of those under 38, say having children in very important. Ideological factors aside, that is less surprising given that majorities of all groups - adults under 35 (68%). seniors (64%), poor and working class (71%), high income (64%), white (67%), black (73%), and Hispanic (64%) - "all say they are not confident that their children's generation will be better off."

“There is an emerging America where issues like children, religion, and patriotism are far less important,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “And in America, it’s the emerging generation that calls the shots about where the country’s headed.”

None of this sugests a particularly promising future!

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