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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore

Americans getting angry. Are you one of them?

Monday, June 6th, 2011

I found this as I was surfing this morning.

I’ve been wondering for a long time why we no longer have protests in the streets as occurred in the 60s and 70s. Some chalked it up to complacency, to generations so transfixed by their electronic toys they had no idea what what really happening in the world around them.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote “…all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable…” That certainly seems to have been the case here in the land of the (no longer so)free. But maybe those in Washington have finally crossed the line. Maybe their hubris made them believe Americans would, forever, just bend over and take it.

Maybe, just maybe, America is starting to wake up.


America the Angry
by Douglas Schoen

Gas and grocery prices are soaring, the housing market is crashing to new lows, and yet another dismal jobs report has confirmed a stubbornly high unemployment rate. Could the anger fueling the Arab Spring soon bring club-wielding protesters to America?

According to an exclusive poll by Newsweek and The Daily Beast, reality is beginning to break down Americans’ normally optimistic attitude. Three-quarters of our respondents think the country is on the wrong track. A majority say the anxiety wrought by this recession has caused relationship problems and sleep deficiency. Two-thirds even report being angry at God. See the results of [the] poll below.

By almost four to one, Americans say our economy is not delivering the jobs we need, 81 percent to 12 percent.

And Obama isn’t helping. 50 percent of respondents think the president has no real plan to balance the budget; 40 percent say he does.

Republicans aren’t getting any love, either. Our poll respondents say the GOP is just laying the blame on Obama rather than making their own positive proposals, 58 percent to 29 percent.

Over half (52 percent) say their personal economic situation makes them nervous. Forty eight  percent say it makes them anxious, 44 percent say it makes them upset, and 30 percent say it makes them angry.

Americans are even losing sleep over this: 56 percent are so angry about their personal economic situation that they have lost sleep.

Thirteen percent say their anger has affected their sex life. Of those, 63 percent say they experienced a lower sex drive at least some of the time.

Listen up, Republicans: Our respondents overwhelmingly say they support increasing taxes on the wealthiest as a means of balancing the budget, 68 percent to 27 percent.

Seventy percent of Americans are nervous about their retirement because of their personal economic situation; 45 percent are nervous about being able to put their children through college; 31 percent are nervous about starting a family; and 29 percent are nervous about being able to afford to buy a home.

Twenty seven percent say their family’s economic situation has affected their health, and 26 percent of those married say it has affected their marriage.

Of those who say their family’s economic situation has affected their marriage, 57 percent say their relationship with their spouse has become worse, while 34 percent say it has become stronger.

Douglas Schoen is a political strategist.  Scott W. Rasmussen and he authored the  upcoming book Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System to be published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins on September 14. Schoen has worked on numerous campaigns, including those of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Evan Bayh, Tony Blair, and Ed Koch.


Are you one of the angry Americans? I sure am.

What are the three to five things you’re angry about?

And what can we do about them as a nation?

19 Responses to “Americans getting angry. Are you one of them?”

  1. Ruth Says:

    I am so angry at our government. However, I am at the point where I feel like protesting does absolutely no good. I do vote, because if I don’t vote, I don’t have the right to complain, but in my mind the winner is set in stone before I even mark my ballot. I got laid off a year ago from Curry County Public Services (I was a building clerk) and after a year on unemployment, I had to call to re-file my claim. I swear, they made me feel like a deadbeat when I talked to them. I just give up!

  2. LindaG Says:

    I am angry. At everyone. People are so stupid. Congress blames the rich, yet how many congress people are blue collar? Every one of them is rich. Healthcare? What a crock. And I blame voters and every Congress person there, too. Sure, they mess around with the little people, while they do something else.
    I makes me mad that Congress gets FULL RETIREMENT BENEFITS AND PAY. Want to cut the deficit? Start there. Same with the President and everyone who works for them. (And I don’t mean the military or people who work to defend our country.)
    And all the stupid people in this country who think they deserve something for nothing keep the liars in office. Obama claimed he’d cut the deficit and then tripled it. Idiots.
    We need to find a way to do things more simply. I’m not saying do away with the internet or anything, but we need to find a way to get people wanting to work again. And we need to cut taxes so the small companies that make this country grow can feel comfortable about hiring people again.

  3. Karen Says:

    1. Economic state of this country.
    2. Lousy state of educational system, lack of adequate funding
    3. Fraud in Gov. at state and national levels

    What to do? I don’t know…it is such a mess. I suppose one thing we need to to is to get rid of special causes being attached to every bill that is passed. Really, do we need to fund bridges that don’t go anywhere? Pork belly politics and all it’s cronies need to be shown the door by the American people at election time.

    Speak up America and loudly. Tell your representatives, congressmen/women what you want…what you think. We really have allowed much of what has happened by being inactive in the processes…we have a responsibility to be in the middle of it all or we have zero right to complain. How many people actually contact those in office? Not many I think.

  4. Emily Says:

    Yes. I know people are angry, I talk to my neighbors and other people in my town and they are all angry. I remember while I was growing up the attitude of most people was “We can change it with our next vote”. And they DID try to change what was going on in our government. Now that I am an adult myself, and I look around and talk to people I see the attitude is more “why vote? it’s not going to make a difference, voting is rigged”. The economy is down our vets are still treated like dirt (don’t even get me started on what my husband has been through and is STILL going through after his 12 years in the Navy)….. And our government is more corrupt than it was last administration. Not to mention that our government is getting BIGGER instead of smaller. I could go on and on… lol. Anyway… To answer your questions:
    Are you one of the angry Americans? yes

    What are the three to five things you’re angry about?
    1. the way that vets have to jump through hoops to get SSD or vets benefits.
    2. the way that people who are on “the dole” feel that it’s “owed” to them simply because they don’t work and have 8 – 12 kids
    3. I’m upset about how our government just keeps getting more and more departments and making more and more regulations.
    4. The rate at which our personal freedoms/rights and liberties are being removed by our government… and in many cases it’s not even being voted on by the general populace.
    5. how so many say that they are angry, yet won’t get out of their chair and VOTE much less protest or even write a letter.

    And what can we do about them as a nation? Write letters to your representatives, congresspeople, senators, president, state government. Call, fax, and visit if you are able. See if you can get to city council meetings to start a change locally, go to your local county and start there if you must. Be that squeeky wheel they have to listen to. Don’t just sit and whine, do something pro-active. And yes, VOTE! (keep in mind, if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain about the outcome.) Get involved… doesn’t matter if your city is 250 people or 2.5 million people, you can be heard if you make enough noise.

  5. Michael Eric Berube Says:

    I think that more than apathy or laziness, many of us look at ‘marching in the streets’ as completely infective. MILLIONS of people of all political stripes took to the streets in over 800 cities around the world on the 15th of February, 2003 to protest the impending invasion and the mainstream corporate media and the Republicrat and Demopublican wings of the Corporate Incumbent Party barely took any notice at all.

    Much too of what passes for ‘street protest’ is festival atmosphere theatrics and purely symbolism over any substance. Would it not be far batter for these folks to put more energy into challenging the hold that Corporations have on our Republic by supporting Instant Runoff Voting, Fully Informed Juries, changing the manner in which Electoral College votes are apportioned (much like my own state of Maine and Nebraska do it…rather than winner take all)? Most Americans have a limited amount of energy and excitement that they can reasonably pour into politics (or rather that they are willing to tear themselves away from learning who’s winning “Idol”)…wouldn’t it be better to ask that they put that limited energy into something meaningful rather than beating on a plastic pail or carrying a funny sign in the street to feel like they are making a difference?

  6. Storm Says:

    Michael hits on some of the important reasons why we don’t see such protests, but there are others as well. How many here knew of the notable protests against the immoral incarceration of Bradley Manning that took place last weekend? Probably few, because the mainstream media is little more than a mouthpiece for the powers that be. Hundreds of people were protesting but that fails to make CNN or the other outlets. Then too we have seen the crackdowns on free speech and freedom in the US. Look to the arrests for the crime of swaying at the Jefferson Memorial (again not reported in the White House approved media outlets.) These “protestors” were picked up and thrown to the ground though they were threatening no one, harming no one, and posed no threat to anything other than the illusion of legitimacy of these police thugs. Is it any wonder that many people are simply afraid for their own life and safety?

    Then too the majority of the people in the US understand that voting makes no difference, and a significant majority of those who know this, also know that no person has the right to own or otherwise control others and so not only do not vote, but refuse to vote. Voting is not only impractical, but as it is simply an act of choosing a slave master, it is immoral as well. A great many people know this and more are waking up to it every day. So why would rational people who know this basic fact, then appeal to the slave masters, to the state itself for the liberty that the state exists to deny us? To do so would be irrational.

    I am angry. What angers me most is the arrogant ignorance that leads some to pretend that there is some special right to own or otherwise control the peaceful lives of others. Next is the immorality of seizing those reigns of power. Thirdly is the reliance upon emotion rather than reason. This third one perhaps should be first because it is this lack of willingness or ability to think rationally that makes the other two if not possible, then at least very easy.

    What can we do? We can start thinking critically. We can drop this pretense that some magical process makes slavery moral. That small percentage that still believes that voting makes something right can realize that no gaming, no amount of pagentry can ever make their claim to the lives of innocent others a morally valid one.

    We can provide alternatives to the coercion of the state. We can provide voluntary association and mutual aid so as to prove again that the state is not only not necessary but cruel and unjustified in any manner. Those who are still calling for theft from others, or coercion to others, can cease those claims. No one has a right to your life, but you. No one has a right to your labor or your property but you. You alone have the right to decide how you will spend that labor or property. Until we realize these basic facts, until all who now vote or hold office come to respect others, and thus cease voting and cease holding office, we will be doomed to the same tyranny we have seen elsewhere and see today in the US.

  7. Susan Gold Beach, Oregon Says:

    1- Banks should not be more important than the people. Save the people first, their homes and jobs and the education of their children. Banks are not what give our country stability, families are. Break down the family and you break down our country.
    2-Growth at all cost is not a healthy business model, social equity is. Doing what is good for people and our precious land is more important than profit and growth indexes. We have been sold out by our own countrymen called big business.
    3-We need to understand how to protest and be heard. Things have changed. Sit ins and marches happen every day. No one pays attention any more. We can protest with how we spend our dollars. What if everyone took their money out of the bank and went back to spending cash for things and bartering? I could pay all my bills with certified checks from the post office. Just by pass the bank all together.

    I vote by not watching television and being influenced by mass media. I use netflix online.
    I vote by buying organic whenever possible.
    I vote by conserving energy whenever possible and not relying on coal and oil.
    I believe the most powerful voice we have is as a consumer.

  8. Storm Says:

    Ruth, the person who votes then complains is a hypocrite. The person who refuses to vote and then complains is simply more aware. Failing to sacrifice your integrity to grant the illusion of legitimacy to thugs who wish to rule over the peaceful lives of others, in no way negates any right to complain about those thugs. Contrast that with choosing to agree to the concept that there should be a thug who does whatever he will to you and other innocent people, then complaining because the particular thug you wanted did not get to be head thug. Surely we can have no doubt that to then complain would be hypocritical at best, though of course you still retain the right to complain even in this case.

  9. Renee Hernandez Says:

    1.The destruction of our water, air, & stimulation of earthquakes.We are protesting in the streets of WV.
    2.Still condoning torture & leaving Gitmo open.
    3.TSA groping people in the name of security.
    4.The rich exploiting the poor more than ever.
    5.Very ignorant people being elected to office case in point Rep.Dana Rohrabacher who states that the rain forest trees should all be cut down as trees are bad for the climate(OMG)!!!!

  10. Lori Says:

    Yes, I’m angry. But anger isn’t a productive emotion, so I’m trying to channel it into something constructive – bought some land, setting up a small homestead, and preparing for the coming storm.

  11. Emily Says:

    @ Lori, Anger is a VERY production emotion. If it wasn’t for anger we would still be an English colony. It’s how you USE that anger that can make it productive or not. So many are doing the “hunker down until it blows over” idea that it’s never going to blow over. :D A storm doesn’t end until the disruption that started it is back on an equalibrium… and if people don’t DO something about what’s happening in our country this is a storm that will be here far longer than you or I.

  12. Desiree Says:

    Wow! First off, I just want to say how very much I enjoy reading the comments made by all of you. It gives me hope that there are still thinking people in our country when it sometimes feels that I’m surrounded by those consumed by self-interest, perpetual victims, or apathy. Whether I agree or not with the opinions to Oliver’s various posts, I am always impressed with their intelligent presentation. Storm, your eloquence especially deserves recognition.

    Yes, I’m angry.
    1. I’m angry that we have become so apathetic that we can’t be bothered to look past whatever news is spoon-fed to us to consider its source or to take advantage of a search engine to find alternative news sources other than the corporate media giants. Seek out opinions that differ from your own. A mind fed a steady stream of information tailored to one’s own beliefs quickly develops mental rickets.

    2. I’m angry at my co-workers, friends, and family that change to CFL twist light bulbs, recycle a few plastic bottles, and call that good and then go out and buy a plethora of poorly made, virtually disposable imported products. Our economy and environment didn’t get this way just because corporations tricked us with slick marketing. WE bought the stuff they offered. WE wanted to save a few bucks on imported everything and were willing to turn a blind eye as our manufacturing left the country and everything but McDonald’s jobs were outsourced. If you don’t like it that Big Business is outsourcing your jobs and posting record profits then simply don’t give them your money! More than voting, more than writing to politicians, more than anything we do outside of ourselves to point fingers and cast blame; we need to look inside ourselves to see what we did to contribute to this mess.

    3. As Storm said it so well, I’m angry at the decline of freedom and the right that some believe they have to control the lives of others. We have, I believe, in this country a terminal case of intolerance and we pass laws to force others to comply with our beliefs and morals.

    I have always voted, believing as so many do that if I don’t vote I have no right to complain, but am finding that voting does no good. I refuse to believe that my only choice for change is choosing between the lesser of two evils.

    I still believe street protests serve a purpose. It was because I happened upon a street protest that I became aware of the inequality in our tax system. If major news outlets won’t report problems, it’s up to us to spread the word. That protest led me to search for more information which led me to this very blog (among others). It was in one of Oliver’s blog entries that I first heard about Fully Informed Juries.

    I have participated in a few protests this year and am very aware of being afraid for my own life and safety. The first time I attended one, I made the mistake of taking one of my teenage daughters thinking this would be a good learning experience for her. We were hours away from home in an unfamiliar, large city. It was only after we got involved that I realized how naïve I was about protesting and how much I took it for granted that there was anything close to resembling the right to free speech in this country.

  13. Hanza Says:

    As a retired Navy Chief who had a Top Secret security clearance I think Bradley Manning being in jail is right where he needs to be.

  14. Dave Says:

    It does appear that protest can do some good, in specific cases, such as the Dollarhites and their rabbit fine (I actually did get a response from the USDA, even though it was pretty pro-forma about compliance is good and for the public safety).

    However, in other cases, such as some noted above, not so much. My brother along with a group went to New York about 8-9 years ago to protest some of GWB’s policies, while he was in town. During this, he said that a Secret Service agent visited their host and said that if they did protest, they would be arrested. As well as the protest area set was miles away from were GWB was. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Things I’m annoyed and angry about are:

    1) A growing us vs them mentality in the country. Be it the ‘militarized’ police mentioned in Mas’ blog against citizens, the people on the dole against those that support them (with the entitlement mindset), and the large amount of class warfare going on, particularly in the taxation issue.

    2) The general helplessness I feel about the situation. Since even if I do complain, it doesn’t mean any of the elected people do anything about it. Nor can I really think of anything to do other than ran for office myself (which I am loathe to do for a few reasons, not the least of which is lack of time).

    3) The fact that government at all levels can’t necessary tell where it is spending it’s money and then asking for more. Such as the GAO issuing disclaimers of opinion when they try to audit the DoD (a disclaimer of opinion is basically saying that we, as the auditors can’t issue an opinion about the entity’s financial condition because either we can’t get the information or it is lacking is major controls over in and out flows) or the numerous scandals we hear about (from no bid contracts to insiders to outright theft of public funds). On top of which, government keeps on asking for more money to fund this all, which is adding insult to injury.

  15. Storm Says:

    Hanza that is the attitude of those who thought that the jews needed to be in the gas chambers. If the government including the military were acting in a manner which could be reasonably defended, they would have no fear of their internal memos being exposed. NO ONE has ever been put in harms way because of the information that Manning is accused of releasing, so the only reason to continue the torture and false imprisonment of Manning is a hatred of reason, truth, and a complete failure to have the basic respect for persons that is the heart of morality. Bradley Manning is the ONLY hero in the US military and should be recognized as such, rather than tortured, imprisoned, and treated as though doing the right thing is the greatest evil. Get past your emotional reactions and think. Have some compassion for good people, rather than using a uniform to determine moral worth.

  16. Leonard Barnes Says:

    I am angry. Constructively, is their anything I can do? Change what is broken. Congress and the Senate, State Legislators, County Commissioners, City Councilors, School Boards and any other elected official. I am not saying they are all broken but enough of them are that something must be done. Start locally, work towards the top. Pay attention to who is running for what position in the primary elections, where results can begin. (If you wait for the General Election, nothing will change.) Ask what will they do to make the changes we need. Ask questions, hold them to what they say. I am not talking about the “Hope and Change” we have been promised, but about real change we can make happen. Revolution can be peacefully done in our system but not without pain…..Hurt a little, help a lot!

  17. Candace Delaney Says:

    Agree with many other points made in the comments. Think we are, and have been angry for a long time but (1) don’t feel the government listens to us. Our elected officials think they are our leaders, not our representatives. So they follow party line (Dems and repubs) and (2) where and how to start to protest! Activism in the 60’s and 70’s was the war in Vietnam, the environment. Now we have wars, the environment, the energy issues, the health care debates, genetically modified foods, employment, lack of government response to the will of the people. ( Or at least to the will of THIS people. Other people will vary.). Too many people have developed short term memory impairment, and even more have long term memory impairment . . they can’t remember that they were impassioned about an issue last month, and few of them seem to care enough to find out the facts. As soon as they do, and if they do not fit in with their thoughts, they drift away.

    There was a bad Sci Fi movie awhile back about aliens among us, and using subliminal messaging to effect our thoughts. There is many a day that I believe this isn’t fiction, but fact.

  18. MLA Says:

    Sure, I get angry about the things going on in our country sometimes. But, I have to agree with Lori… anger is generally not that productive. In general, I think that we have too many people who’ve given in to their anger, and are therefore unwilling (or unable) to think rationally or even consider compromise.

    And we *do* need compromise, simply because we don’t all see things the same way, have the same beliefs, want the same things, etc.

    As founded, America generally tolerated the individual pursuit of happiness, but I feel our society has turned away from the corresponding and necessary personal responsibility and morality that’s required.

    How will “anger” help us fix that? As Emily pointed out, anger *can* fuel protests and movements. Unfortunately, protests are typically focused on one specific goal, e.g., to get some law changed, or prevent some rule, etc.

    As I see it, the “system” is broken, and we only have so many paths to walk in trying to fix it: we can work *inside* or *outside* that system, or we can do our best to *avoid* the system.

    Working within the system means that we vote, contact our representatives, run for office, etc.

    Working outside the system means… well… revolution, I guess. How can anyone advocate that? Does anyone really believe that’s the solution here? I sure don’t.

    So, that leaves “avoiding” the system, referred to above by Emily as “hunkering down until it blows over.”

    All that said, I remain skeptical about anything near a majority of Americans getting interested or involved in politics or self-governance.

    And, as I said above, I’m not interested in revolution.

    So, that pretty much means I need to keep “hunkering.” ;)

  19. Robert Says:

    Yes, I am angry. But the clowns that are running the circus have made a mess of things. But they have inspired people to become more self reliant. I’m even working with my neighbors to put in more garden space. People want to be able to grow more of what they eat and to feel a sense of pride in having the ability to do it themselves.
    So be angry but don’t just sit there. Do something to make a difference in your own life, the lives of your family and maybe even your neighbors. So take action and make the world a better place.



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