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81 Percent of Americans Say We Are "On The Wrong Track"

81 Percent Say the US Is "On the Wrong Track." Are We?

According to a New York Times/CBS News poll just released, 81 percent of respondents felt "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." 81 percent. That's four out of five. I'm kind of surprised. Call me a sentimental sap, but just yesterday I was listening to this song on the treadmill. Thinking critically, I know that saying that we're on the wrong track and being proud are different animals, but I see a lot of "tracks" around the world I'm glad we're not on. Of course I see we have challenges, but 81 percent?

The number was up from 69 percent last year and 35 percent in early 2003. The darkening outlook had been attributed to the situation in Iraq but this poll showed a big addition of concern over the economy, almost flip-flopping priority of concern with Iraq.

Only 4 percent of respondents said the country was in better shape than it was five years ago, while a sizeable 78 percent said it was worse.

This news is pretty jarring. If this were an election, 81 percent would be a landslide. Are you surprised by this finding? Do you agree?

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hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Nicely said remedios
remedios remedios 8 years
I don't know whether I live in the best country in the world, but it's the one I have and I know no other as well as this one. I think that a lot of people believe this the greatest country in the same way that they believe their family is the greatest family. How do you really measure something like that? A family isn't perfect, you may not have the richest family and you fight, you might have different beliefs. But in the end, you still share something that just wouldn't be the same with a different family. There are tons of things about this country I like, tons I don't like. Hopefully we're all mature enough that this love doesn't have to blind us, allows us to criticize our country without being accused of hating the country. (That unfortunately isn't always true, but I can hope.) There are things that I'm embarrassed about, like our education. But that's because I think this is such a great country that we should have the best education. I have to take the bad with the good, and frankly, I really like the foundation of this country. I like the Constitution. I like the idea, even if not always true, that you can always have hope, that a lot of what we are is determined by the self. I might have to work harder / get luckier than some others (or vice versa), but the American dream is still there. I like the freedom that we have. In fact, that's why I hate when things come along that restrict that freedom because it either offends someone else or because of the idea of keeping me safe. But we can discuss this, and I love that. I like the diversity here, that we have so many different people with so many different backgrounds, cultures. I like when people celebrate their culture. Is it perfect? Of course not. But it works for me. (I want to be able to travel around the world, maybe live in other countries for a while, and then return back home. Whether I do that is another matter, but it does not change my view of this country.)
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Hey hypno, didn't you read above? I already said I don't have any guns. I do throw a mean rock though ;) not necessarily accurate, but mean
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Whatever! You know I'd never come after you! Unless you REALLY pissed me off! ;)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Haha! Your endearing sarcasm is appreciated cabaker27. I actually had to think hmm how can I answer Jubex question and keep cabaker27 and UnDave35 from coming after me with their hand guns. LOL!
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
The USA is the best country in the world because we have hypnotic! :)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Hi Jubex, To have pride in ones country is a great thing. The U.S. was founded on a system of democracy which has been looked to as a model for new democracies around the world for over two hundred years. I love this country and have great pride in it just as cabaker27 and UnDave35 do. However, I can certainly understand your perspective and how the constant projection of one saying they are the greatest can be viewed as hypocritical from a country which has a substantial list of imperfections just like any other country. We are not different in that respect and I would say to my compatriots that pointing to other countries with worse problems as some moral hall pass to greatness doesn't cut it. This is where it comes down to perspective and context. The U.S. system of gov. in my opinion is the greatest SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT created so far. On the other hand we have from time to time very imperfect administrations, representatives and judiciaries who make very imperfect judgments which not only have domestic impact but international implications as well which do not live up to the standard of greatness created over two hundred and thirty one years ago. I would say to those who wrap themselves in patriotism for the U.S., do so, but do it with humility knowing that we are an imperfect society and always shall be. Our majority’s decision to project arrogance rather than humility and to bully rather than nurture has strained bonds that were once never questioned. Having said all of that, to say the U.S. is the greatest country on earth is actually a very ambiguous statement. It can come from countless different perspectives and as cabaker27 says it's subjective. I don't think you can argue though that our system of gov. has an equal.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I am personally scared if the right to bear arms (both of my arms are so discustingly flabby now...oh wait I'm cunfused) I agree that every US citizen should be able to keep and bear arms, and living in an area that is predominately hunters, I hear that all the time. I myself do not have any weapons, and I don't want any. I feel that some weapons should not be legal (like assault weapons, automatic rifles, and most handguns), but I know that I am in the minority here.
syako syako 8 years
If a citizen has the right to bear arms, if their government is not doing the things that it should be doing (according to our Constitution) we can rise up with our guns against the government, overthrow them, and start all over. That is why it is a personal freedom. Also, in regard to your 'guy in the street' question - if someone in the street pulls out a gun and then you pull our your own personal gun it will most likely make the other guy reconsider what it was he intended doing to you. But as others have said, that's an opinion. As are all your reasons you listed that makes you think America isn't greatest. And also all the responses to your original comment are likewise opinions. That's what's so great about this here blog is that we can come here with our opinions, share them, debate them and then at the end of the day come out of it with a bit more knowledge and understanding of people who are different than us. So welcome.
jubex jubex 8 years
ok....thanks for your explanation, that's why i came here, because before forming an opinion about something i like to hear both sides of the story....because usually the news only show us one, thank you for yuor answer undave35 and no, i don't think my country is better than the united states, far from it....i just think it's stupid to go around saying "my country it's the best"...i never did, and i also think patriotism is overrated and other values are much more important...but that is just my opinion thank you again for clarifyng (?) me but i still have a question: do you really believe that being able to carry a gun is a good personal freedom?i really don't understand that.. I would be scared to death if i knew, while walking down the street or going to school, that some crazy person could shoot me right there....seriously, i don't get it...but it's your opinion and i respect it
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Jubex, to say our health care system is based on insurance is wrong. Our health care providers are required by law to help anyone who is in need on medical attention, regardless of their ability to pay. People in this country need health insurance to help cover the cost of those procedures, so we can use our money to the enjoyment of other avenues. The problem with our health care system is the addition costs of research and development, and lawsuit insurance. Where do you think the average doctor gets the money to pay the malpractice ins (at $170,000/year)? I think it would be a better use of our time to get rid of the frivolous lawsuits, and penalize those who make them.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
jubex the things you bring up mean you think our country isn't as good as yours because of your opinion on these issues... its 100% subjective. i would say i love america because of our personal freedoms, like being able to have a gun and because many of us believe in minimal government interation, not having a government run healthcare system is actuatlly a better idea to us. as for human rights, i'm sure there are plenty of people in China who will tell you their country is the best regargless of their human rights violations. bottom line is, best country in the world is subjective and i would hope that other nations think their country is the best in the world, patriotism shouldn't be a US only value.
jubex jubex 8 years
ins't your health care system based on health insurance? it's ironic that the best country in the world can't provide medical care to all its citizens. if you don't think that the death penalty, a violation of human rights, has anything to do with the country greatness what do you think has? (i'm soorry about my english, it is not my first language)
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I'm curious what you mean about the health care system, and I have no idea what the death penalty has to do with the countries greatness. Could you explain a little further please?
jubex jubex 8 years
hmmm...ok, you are probably right about the news but i don't think the immigration statistics are a good answer to my question....i just don't understand how a country with your health system, for example, can be consider the best country. not to mention the death penalty, allowing people to carry guns and foreign relations.i asked this question because i just find strange that anyone, american or not, goes around saying "my country is the best".it's strange to me.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
You get that idea from the news because the networks learned in the 60's and 70's that bad news gets more viewers. This has evolved into anything that puts down America gets more viewers. This is the best country in the world, and the proof is in the immigration statistics. More people apply for visas to get into America than any other country, and fewer Americans are seeking to leave America.
jubex jubex 8 years
about USA...not us
jubex jubex 8 years
Ok...i have a question...i'm not american so....why do you think you live in the best or one of the best countries in the world? because whenever i watch the news about us that's not the idea i get
remedios remedios 8 years
cine - uh oh, we have more in common again... my mom grew up in Ireland too. One of my brothers is in the process of getting his passport now, and I keep meaning to do so, but I've got to get my birth certificate and ... I forget, but some doc from mom. Anyway, let me know how that process goes for you (or has gone). We've also toyed with the idea of moving there for a few years. But now that I'm in law school, I'm not sure how that'll play out.
remedios remedios 8 years
wait a sec... isn't pride a deadly sin? I'm so confused.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
cine: Thanks! I suppose my kids are okay, but they're as weird as their parents.... kiki: Yes, that's correct, she was really excited to find out that I was working on it. (I should have done this when they were born. The years fly by!)
Kkkkkkkkkkk Kkkkkkkkkkk 8 years
Mandy, what was the family who ran the store? Was it one of the big old family owned department stores?
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Nope, they were good ole Irish Catholics in Boston. It's pretty much impossible to move there if you're not an EU citizen or have family connections.
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
:rotfl: Hypno! 2M, if your grandparents were born in Ireland, then you can become a citizen.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Cine, I'm so jealous of your family connections there!!! I really want to live outside the US at some point too and Ireland appeals to me because of the weather (I'm a Seattle girl at heart no matter where I live and I love me some rain!) as well as they speak English and my heritage is about 3/4 Irish. Unfortunately, most of my family left during the Potato Famine as is true with most Americans of Irish heritage. Although, my uncle used to go there all the time and he met a family with the same last name as ours who run a store in Dublin. He said the physical resemblance was astounding (our family seems to have a very definite "look"), but they couldn't trace anything to determine if we're all actually related.
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