Jeanetta came in the other day fuming about the same thing I've noticed lately: The number of angry and hateful people appears to be rapidly expanding.
This rise of unhappy Americans is evident everywhere. It feels as if the fabric of society has become like a rapidly unraveling ball of yarn.
It's become apparent that the continuous stream of news about crippling inflation, corruption at the highest levels of federal government, crime in our cities, soulless human slaughter and the enormous expense to our treasury from wars in Ukraine and Israel has been heightening our collective anxieties.
Every hour we are exposed to negative news, ranging from mass shootings and crime to thousands of uninformed "protesters" jamming our streets and highways in lockstep as if their hysterical screams are going to draw reasonable adults to their radical "cause" of supporting uncivilized terrorists.
Frightened Jewish citizens are being protested and cursed by antisemitic Americans in a nation that has long counted Israel as its greatest Middle Eastern ally. Christians also are under assault by those lacking spiritual underpinnings.
Some "honorable" elected D.C. representatives rant mindlessly about events in Gaza that didn't occur as our nation continues to drop in worldwide respect and public support by not providing even the semblance of effective leadership.
Even angry Republicans couldn't unite for weeks to select a speaker of the House.
Free speech is being undermined by those who, aided by social media and their media cohorts, choose to "cancel" or silence those who won't mimic and recite only their radical biases.
Little wonder so many among us are angered in this era of runaway political subterfuge and dishonesty.
Our southern border apparently stands wide open to flood overwhelmed cities with illegals as the evasive and incompetent Alejandro Mayorkas tells Congress under oath that all is secure. Now, our northern border has become porous and we are being warned of potential terrorist attacks.
Then there's the badly dysfunctional public education system where millions of our children can't read or cipher adequately while upset parents are naturally concerned about their children being indoctrinated by a leftist "oppressor/oppressed" radical ideology, rather than acquiring a meaningful education.
The feckless Biden administration is trying to force expensive, problematic electric vehicles on everyone for whatever urgent reason while auto manufacturers are backing away from the EV scheme because wiser people just aren't buying the heavy-handed political push.
We hear daily--well, on at least two TV networks anyway--of corruptive big-money connections between foreign governments, including enemy Communist China, and our political leaders and some family members, as a congressional committee says that that noose, fashioned by hard facts, is tightening daily.
Out west, local and state governments have encouraged once-great cities to spiral into homeless squalor adorned with sidewalks of filthy excrement where businesses can no longer operate.
Half the nation remains upset over what they see as four politically calculated indictments aimed at derailing former GOP President Donald Trump, the leading presidential candidate in 2024. What does that say about our national integrity in 2023?
Women's sports has been badly damaged by the utter nonsense that allows biological males to "compete" in what is rightfully their sports, thereby robbing young female athletes of their rightful awards they've worked hard to earn.
As a male I'd be humiliated and ashamed to take the podium and accept my phony women's trophy surrounded by genuinely physical female athletes and their families, friends and supporters. Talk about yet another morally twisted political policy.
Allowing boys into girls' restrooms and locker rooms also defies plain common sense, morals and logic.
Many out here are deeply concerned about our ability to ensure an honest 2024 election, as some states like Pennsylvania already are making changes that would appear to make cheating that much easier.
When these worries are consolidated into the demise of America's once fundamental standards of honesty, integrity, and concern for the national well-being over the selfish desire to control the nation at any cost (George Washington warned us about this), it becomes easier for me to understand the root cause behind so much rudeness, anger and depression permeating an envied place that once offered its citizens the American dream.
So it's little wonder many Americans are feeling helpless about these conditions being needlessly inflicted on citizens in our previously sane and proud America.
Oh wait. Did I mention the skyrocketing price of groceries and interest rates, threatening to ban our gas stoves or the inability to afford homes under the joys of Bidenomics?
Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected].