Angry electorate

A recent poll indicated that the angriest voters are supporting Trump and Cruz, while the least angry lean to Clinton, Sanders and Kasich, in that order. Anger often leads people to make irrational and horrendous decisions. Will that be the case in 2016 with the American electorate?

I doubt many people will argue with my assessment that a large segment of the American people holds a great deal of rage.

Presidential campaigning is more vitriolic now, and that is merely between candidates of the same party. Such anger has led to meaningless debates about non-issues, crude jokes about the size of a candidate’s manhood and unwarranted attacks on the looks of wives and female candidates.

Never before have so many candidates called so many other candidates liars. Why such anger, and how much of it is justified?

A poll taken last November is very telling. The angriest segment of our demographics is older, white male. Educationally, it’s individuals with the least education. Financially, it’s the middle class.

It is the lack of anger among the poor I find amazing. Likewise, African Americans are not as angry as whites, and unlike white America, they do not perceive the American dream to be dead.

Is our anger justified? Yes, for many who feel disenfranchised. About three-fourths of Americans believe the government serves the wishes of the wealthiest and the powerful special interests rather than the needs of the average American. Income disparity and the wage stagnation of the middle class are also justifiable reasons for indignation.

But a number of things the people told pollsters anger them are not justifiable reasons to get mad.

They stem from untruths spoken by pundits and politicians alike. About half of Americans believe that the U.S. is no longer the strongest military force in the world. They hear this on conservative talk shows and in Republican stump speeches.

Yet there is no single nation in the world that believes it can stand up to our military might. Small groups of terrorist cause mayhem, but they simply cannot defeat us.

We are told, too often, that we are economically weak, that we are no longer the greatest economic power in the world. That, too, is false. Despite China’s inevitable economic growth resulting from that communist nation’s acceptance of western economic reforms, the U.S. remains the most significant national economy on the globe.

Our nation’s economic stability continues to trump the impact of the economic problems of others.

In the past eight years, we were told over and over again that the U.S. has lost its international prestige. To put it as politely as I can, that is a bunch of hooey.

International polling reveals that America is still far and away the most admired nation on earth. It may come as a shock to Donald Trump, but Mr. Putin’s Russia remains near the bottom of the list.

Such polling tells us America’s global prestige has risen significantly since the end of the Bush presidency. Many believe the American dream is dead, and that infuriates a large segment of the population. But is it true?

Of course, success might not be as easy to come by as it once was. In part, that is due to globalization and corporations moving jobs overseas. Nevertheless, there is not a nation in the world in which a young American would find better opportunities for the future than right here at home. We aren’t a perfect nation by any means, but we certainly have every reason to be happy with being Americans. It’s time for cooler heads to prevail now and in November.

Michael Adkins is the former chair of the Hancock County Democratic Party. He lives in Greenfield.