Amid all the madness over Obamacare and the government shutdown comes a fascinating poll about “we the people.”
For years, the Gallup organization has asked the following question: Do you trust the American people to make good judgments about political issues?
Eight years ago, 78 percent of those polled said they had trust in the folks. This year that number plummeted to just 61 percent.
The reason is President Barack Obama. There is now a lot of buyer’s remorse about his re-election. All of the polls show his job approval rating is below 50 percent and falling fast, with the Syrian debacle and the Obamacare chaos adding to the general dismay about the soft economy.
The key disenchantment with the economy is that the median salary for American workers has dropped on Obama’s watch. After five years, paychecks continue to stagnate. Also, tax revenue is at a historic high. Doing the math, workers are paying more to the government and taking home less in their checks.
And it is the fault of the American people that our politicians continue to let us down.
Let’s be honest: Many of us simply don’t pay attention to our country. We are too caught up in our own situations to be bothered with public policy. And it never has been easier to escape reality. High-tech gizmos give individuals the power to create their own isolated worlds. Millions of Americans now spend the majority of their leisure time texting, tweeting, gaming, porning, emailing and surfing the Internet.
We are Facebooking, googling, blogging, flaming, spamming and downloading. We are becoming a nation of cyberspace zombies, addicted to machines that shut out real life. H.G. Wells said it would happen, and it has.
Talk-radio hosts call them “low information voters:” Americans who don’t know much about history, current events or anything else and who often vote on pure emotion. If they like somebody, he or she gets the chad. And Barack Obama is a very likeable guy.
We live in a complicated, dangerous age. Democrats have seized on the economic collapse and a bad war (Iraq) that happened on President George W. Bush’s watch.
They have convinced the majority of voters to embrace a new America – one that gives the federal government extraordinary power, one that runs up a record amount of debt in pursuit of social justice and “income equality.”
Well, it simply is not working out. The gap between rich and poor under Obama is getting bigger because fewer well-paying jobs are available. Corporations are being taxed to the hilt and are loath to add more workers. Thus, salaries fall because there are more than enough applicants to fill any job vacancy.
As the Gallup poll suggests, we are beginning to blame each other for the confusing state of this country. And, indeed, it is collectively our fault. We should be electing problem-solvers, not charismatic ideologues who can whip people into a frenzy.
But in order to make the Internet cut, you have to make a flamboyant play to a specific crowd.
Not a smart crowd, a specific crowd.
• Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of many books, including the newly released “Killing Jesus.”