Americans historically have been the can-do people. Even in the darkest of times, Americans manage to see their glass as more than half full. Seemingly woven into our DNA is an expectation that the lights will forever burn brightly within the "shining city on the hill."
Even from colonial days, every generation somehow managed to hand off an even greater life filled with opportunity to their children. By the time our upstart nation was barely fifty years old, Alexis de Tocqueville gushed with praise about America's unique advancement of "human greatness and freedom."
Our national belief of an always better tomorrow developed a name: "The American Dream."
But, something is happening in America. Something unusual, foreign to whom we are as a people. Pessimism is creeping in; a sense of doubt.
By a margin of 2:1 Americans believe the U.S. is weaker and less respected than she was four years ago.
The snail's pace of the economic recovery that supposedly began more than three and a half years ago has beaten people down. Regardless of President Obama's assertions that the economy is headed in the right direction, a majority of Americans (52:40) recently polled believe the worst is still yet to come.
A Rutgers University study found that 60 percent of Americans believe "that the nation's economy has undergone a permanent change." More than half of those surveyed think it will take "at least six years" to fully recover – 29 percent don't believe we ever will.
Assessing the findings of the survey, Rutgers professor Carl Von Horn said, "Five years of economic misery have profoundly diminished Americans' confidence in the economy and their outlook for the next generation." American workers – historically the most productive and optimistic in the world – Von Horn said, "are deeply pessimistic."