The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 30, 2013

Cheer up, America, things could get worse

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News & Eagle

— Much of the world hates America.

That’s nothing new, we’ve known that for some time.

We wish it wasn’t true, we would like everyone to love us, but we know that’s not realistic.

We’re the country many other countries would like to be, so it’s only natural that they hate us. It goes with the territory. It’s their loss.

They think we’re pushy, they think we’re overbearing, they think we have too many guns, too many cars and produce too many pollutants.

We’re unsophisticated and uncouth, preferring television shows like “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo,” and “Duck Dynasty,” to more erudite fare.

We’re erratic, we’re mercurial, we’re always sticking our noses where they don’t belong. We think we are the center of the universe, we win at everything we try, we eat everything in sight and we invented nuclear war.

We’re loud, we talk too much, and when we travel abroad, we stomp around ogling ancient edifices wearing our T-shirts, shorts, ball caps and white tennis shoes.

Besides, in the rest of the world, it has become somewhat fashionable — dare we say it, even hip — to bash America.

We get it. We’re not going to change, and our attitude is, take us or leave us, it doesn’t matter to us either way.

Serbia hates us because we supported Kosovo when it declared its independence. Greece hates us, Yemen hates us, as does Iraq. It’s no surprise that Iran hates us, as do Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, the so-called Palestinian territories and Pakistan, according to a Gallup poll conducted earlier this year. Most of these nations hate on us because they don’t like our foreign policy.

We know why the rest of the world hates us. The question is, why do we hate ourselves so much?

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a poll in which it found that 47 percent of Americans think China is the world’s leading superpower, not the U.S. That’s up from 36 percent in 2008.

A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted early this year found half of those surveyed think America’s best years are behind us.

Earlier this summer, Time magazine conducted a poll in which 58 percent of Americans surveyed said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

And Washington is a mess, according to most Americans. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 83 percent of American disapprove of the job Congress is doing. If voters could vote “none of the above” and dump the entire Congress in one fell swoop, six in 10 say they would do so. There is a rumor the 12 percent of Americans who say they approve of Congress is made up solely of their next of kin.

We are becoming a nation of whiners. Unemployment is still too high and the middle class is struggling with the reduction in real household income in recent years. And, as we’ve already mentioned, Congress seems without a clue as to how to reverse this trend.

But we forget our economy has grown, albeit painfully slowly, for four straight years. The housing market is recovering and U.S. household debt has declined to the lowest level since 2006.

We seem to forget we have the power to change our situation. We can speak out, we can go back to school and expand our horizons, we can move, we can even — God help us — run for office and become both a part of the problem and the solution. And we can vote out those pesky congressmen whom we so denigrate, just not all with one stroke of the pen.

America has gone through terrible times in its past, which is brief when compared to that of many nations. We have endured global war, massive disease outbreaks, crippling economic downturns, racism, ignorance, injustice, civil war and rioting in the streets of our major cities. We have survived it all.

This gloomy attitude that has seemingly swept across the country seems on its face to be a self-fulfilling prophecy — if we believe our best days are behind us, it will thus be so.

It is time to buck up, dig our heels in, flex our muscles and set about changing all that we don’t like about our country — which, incidentally, remains the country to which most people from around the world want to move. China? Iraq? Serbia? Not so much.

Think things in America these days are bad? They aren’t, not in the global scheme of things. Are they as good as they could be? Of course not, but it is up to us to work to change that.

What other choice do we have, to wait for Washington to make our lives better?

See, made you laugh, didn’t I?

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at