Well, I don't hate anyone, actually. Why do I say this now? Two reasons.
First, I've identified a bias in the main stream press (yes, you, too, NPR!). The bias? Way too much coverage of the US government in Washington D.C.! Oh, I get that there's a lot of controversy there, so the intense focus doesn't surprise me. But the effect I see is that it's wearing people down and leaving the public with increased feelings of pessimism and despair.
Second, I just came across this story about 'Deaths of Despair' among white middle aged residents of the US. There is another analysis in this research report.
Now, I'm a 'big picture' person, so I ponder the significance of stories way beyond their immediate shock value. I think about how this affects people of all races and backgrounds. Not only in the death rate, however. To me, the death rate is more of a signal for something larger, not just an immediate problem to be 'solved.'
Sure, a declining level of income, overall, certainly adds stress to people's lives. But that's just on average. As our economy is based on 'having a job' that means some people have work while others have none. Still others must work at jobs that are not only low paying but fail to take advantage of their true skills and experience. You see, I think it's more a decline in the sense of accomplishment, the very sense of self worth, as well as an expectation that the situation is bound to get worse in the future that's driving this, not just the lack of a good income.
Our 'American Dream' has become hollow over the decades. It's all about money. That's just wrong. It should be all about life! People are taking their own lives, overdosing on drugs, or killing themselves with alcohol as a result. That's because their quality of life is in decline with no end in sight.
So, why did many of them, in the most 'economically depressed' areas, switch from Democrat to Republican in the recent election? Because they want radical change. They didn't respond to the appeal to sexism and racism as much as they did to the talk about jobs. That's my take on it, anyway.
So, what are we going to do about this? I think we need some kind of fundamental change in how we approach work, jobs, community, and a sense of purpose. This is likely to involve letting go of our traditional assumptions, as much as it involves finding new innovative ideas.
I don't think getting money out of politics is going to solve this. And neither will term limits. Those are just tinkering with a system with much bigger problems than who gets elected or who is funding campaigns or lobbying elected representatives. This goes deep into the assumptions and expectations we all carry here in the USA. After all, these death rates are distinctly worse than they are in most other countries.
Perhaps Nikita Khrushchev, (head of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union in the 1950s) was right when he said, "... you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands." Of course he didn't live to see what's going on now (he died in 1971) and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. But the point is that we now seem to be living out his prediction. It's just that the "our hands" of which he spoke are now gone.
So, now, it's up to us. This is not something that can be solved with marches in the street with signs, it's something to be worked on within our own minds and through discussion with each other. Our task is to change our own assumptions about what's important in life, and then change how we interact with others to fundamentally reshape our economy. Sorry, there is no quick fix that I can see. You can search the web for "new economy." I know there are some groups at M.I.T. and Tufts University working on this, for starters. They are associated with a nation wide collaboration. Or you can take a look at this group.