“… One Damn Thing After Another.”

I know what my late father would say about the times we are living through now. “Life is just one damn thing after another.”

Consider the lousy mood the country is in today.

A Gallup Poll released this week finds that just 13 percent of U.S. adults are satisfied with the state of the nation. That is down seven percentage points from last month and down 32 points after reaching a 15-year high in February.

The findings, while disturbing, are not all that surprising.  Just look around.

We are still engulfed in the pandemic. The threat of Covid-19 permeates nearly every aspect of our lives. Despite the best efforts by healthcare workers and millions of Americans to follow safety guidelines, it does not seem as though we are getting ahead of the virus.

The virus is having a colossal impact on the economy.  More than 30 million Americans are out of work, including 250,000 in West Virginia.  Shutdowns and stay-at-home orders led to a dramatic 33 percent decrease in the gross domestic product in the 2nd quarter.

George Floyd’s murder has opened a festering wound over race in this country. Some Americans have rallied to the cause of racial injustice, while others have been angered when protests devolve into violence.

“These events have greatly altered the national mood this year, from one that was brighter than it had been in over a decade to one of the dourest in the past 40 years,” Gallup concluded.

The poll found that Republicans have had the deepest plunge in mood.  Satisfaction with the situation in the country is down to 20 percent, about half what it was just a month ago and down a whopping 60 points since last February after the Senate acquitted President Trump in his impeachment trial.

The new school year is about to begin… sort of. Some school systems will have no in-person classes, others will try to open close to normal and still others will have a hybrid of online and in-person classes.

The patchwork will create a hardship for parents as well as educators. Families already struggling to find and afford dependable childcare will face even more trouble.

Most colleges will try to open—many with a combination of in-person and online classes—but no one knows how that is going to go.

Normally, sports would give us a breather from the daily grind, but our favorite passtimes are being impacted in ways we never imagined—the NBA in a bubble, baseball with no fans, college football a great unknown.

It is all pretty depressing, and completely understandable.

During times like these I think about my dad.  After he grumbled about life’s slings and arrows, he would gird himself and lean into the headwinds. He might not make much progress, but he would feel better for having tried and his mood would brighten.

He could stay dissatisfied for only so long, and I suspect—no, I believe—the country is the same way.


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