Honestly, I cannot recall when there was a general view that the country was not hurting. This was very much true during the 1960s with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, the assassination of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war. This was true during the 1970s with the fall of South Vietnam, Watergate, 18% interest rates, super high inflation rates, the oil crises, the Iran Hostage crisis.
This was true during the 1980s with rampant homelessness, high murders rate in our inner cities, the crack cocaine epidemic, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the Iran-Control scandal, the civil wars and death squads in Central America, exploding budget deficits and growing national debt, trickle down economics and the decline of the American middle class, growth of Japan as a major competitor, loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
This was true during the 1990s with all the Clinton scandals, terrorist attacks against the US in New York and in the Middle East (like always), growth of China as a major competitor. This was true during the first decade of the 21st century with 9/11 terrorist attacks, the launching of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the near-collapse of the US economy due to the financial crisis, loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia, growing unemployment rates.
Every generation has said the country is hurting, in trouble, threatened from abroad, going downhill. It’s really no different. I think we all long for those “good old days,” but I think those days are largely an illusion. What we really long for is the good old days when we were young and carefree, locked ourselves in our rooms and listened to music… you know, before we had families to care for, bills and taxes to pay, endless meetings to attend, retirement and insurance plans to worry about, aging bodies to worry about, carbs to watch… when we had our whole lives to look forward to.
Relatively speaking, the US is in far better shape than just about any country in the world. I think our biggest problem is ourselves. Most of us are either fat or obese or out of shape. We don’t take care of ourselves, and so we feel bad about just about everything. We blame everyone for our miseries. We’re chronically sick. We have high incidences of diabetes, cancer, autism, ADD, ADHD, depression, drug addiction, divorce, spiritual emptiness, extreme materialism, etc. Nothing seems to fulfill us, make us happy. Everything scares us. We don’t sleep enough.
We’re so unhappy with ourselves and insecure that we interpret this unhappiness and fear as being the fault of our country. If only our country were happy, secure and in great shape, then we think we would be also. I think it’s a cop out. If only our country were more respected and tougher, then all would be well in the world. If only our country allowed us all to be filthy rich… That’s not the way it has ever worked. … regardless of what Donald Trump says. What a sad excuse for an earthling.