Americans Are Doing OK, But America Is Going to Hell

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I don’t suppose I really have a lot to say about this, but perhaps we can file it under the widespread belief that “America is going to hell but things are OK in my neck of the woods.”

It’s from the AP/Times Square Alliance poll, which is primarily interested in whether you plan to watch the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve. However, they also asked how things went in 2015. Answer: Personally, more people thought it was better than 2014 than thought it was worse. But for the country, way more people thought it was worse than 2014.

This dynamic—I’m doing OK but the rest of the country is going to hell—is so widespread that it’s hard not to blame the media for it. Is that fair? Or is it just something about human nature? In either case, it’s kind of crazy. Not only was 2015 as good or better than 2014 for a huge majority, but optimism was high too: an even bigger majority thought 2016 would be better yet. But for America as a whole, far more people thought 2015 was worse than thought it was better. It’s hard for me to think of any important metric by which 2015 was worse than 2014, but apparently mass shootings and terrorist attacks weighed heavily on everyone. Those were, by far, the news stories that everyone rated the most important.

So how was your 2015?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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