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Most Americans Think 2021 was a Terrible Year—Here’s Why

La mayoría de los americanos dice que el 2021 fue malo para Estados Unidos: ¿qué tanto debe preocuparnos?

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With less than two days to go for 2021, Americans are already assessing how well they and the U.S. did this past year. Sadly, the numbers are not very encouraging.

According to a Fox News national poll, 55% of Americans feel it was not a good year personally and, to make matters worse, 7 in 10 said 2021 was bad for the country.

The figure is barely an improvement over the 2020 numbers when 78% of Americans said it was a bad year for the country. But when compared to 2019 (38%) the numbers worsened dramatically.

There are many reasons for this number, the first being, of course, the pandemic, which choked the world’s healthcare systems in 2020 and wrecked the economy of virtually the entire globe. The United States was clearly no exception. However, this is not the only reason.

Why Americans believe 2021 was bad

Polarization, which has developed over the past few decades is increasingly present in American decision-making. Recently, an Axios poll noted that young Democrats, particularly, are much more intolerant than independents and Republicans of people who are not sympathetic to their political views.

2021 was bad - el american
A man fishes from a pier, with the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan in the background, in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S., April 20, 2021. (EFE)

This social problem is best explained in numbers: 71% of young Democrats said they would probably not date someone who voted for a different candidate. Thirty-seven percent said they would probably not be friends with someone who has a different political position. Nearly one-third said they would not work for someone who voted for the opposing candidate and 41% said they would not buy from a business owned by someone from the opposing party.

If you are a parent of a young person who considers him or herself a Democrat, and you see that your child wants nothing to do with a Republican or a conservative, you have an absolute right to believe that the country is on the wrong track in terms of unity, respect and tolerance. The same is true of young Republicans who want nothing to do with the opposing side, although the latter are in the minority, according to Axios.

Another problem evident in American households, beyond perceived social relations, is the inflationary crisis.

Housewives, for example, see every day how the price of various products increases, which is detrimental to the family economy. For Thanksgiving, for example, the price of turkey skyrocketed. Gas is at its highest price in decades. These are small details that in the long run end up wearing down the citizen.

Then there is, although this is debatable for many liberals and progressives, a frank deterioration of individual liberties in blue states. COVID-related measures such as vaccine mandates and passports, including harsh restrictions on family gatherings were policies that limited the liberties and decision-making power of Americans in the last two years, provoking a strong national conflict between those who do not agree with these state impositions and those who favor them.

Photo showing two women wearing masks as they walk through the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida. (EFE)

In addition to the economic crisis, the loss of liberties and the problems caused by the pandemic, there has been a spike in crime and an alarming increase in insecurity in the nation’s major cities. In addition, there is a political aggravating factor in this case, since shootings and murders multiplied just when many politicians came up with the brilliant idea of defunding police departments, how can the conservative American, for example, not feel that something is wrong?

On top of all this, the current Democratic administration is working to increase public spending, raise the debt ceiling, generate an endless spiral of debt that will fall not only on the American citizens of today but also on Americans of future generations who will find themselves with a heavy burden on their backs that they do not deserve and did not choose.

Education, another issue of enormous concern

Education became more than a transcendental issue for American parents. There are many who see with concern how anti-American values and an ideologically biased historical narrative are being taught in the classrooms with the desire to rewrite the facts of the past. Of course, I am referring to Critical Race Theory, which may quietly be the most discordant point between conservatives and progressives.

So why should it matter that Americans think the country is doing badly? Because they are right!

Americans historically have been enthusiastic about their country. A lover of seeking opportunities and taking advantage of them. Today there are disillusioning and discouraging data, such as the increase in suicide rates among young people, the loss of faith or also the disappointment of young Americans with their democratic system, especially among Republicans.

True, America is still a great nation and a better place to live than most countries around the world. Not a minor fact and underappreciated by some. But history teaches that good times can change at any time.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

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