Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Richard's famous soliloquy opens Shakespeare's play, "Richard III":

"Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house

In the deep bosom of the ocean buried."

The first line is often quoted as though it were the entire story. "Now is the winter of our discontent," we are cold and unhappy. To be interpreted correctly, the first phrase needs to be connected with the second, "made glorious summer by this sun of York." We were unhappy, but now happy days are here again since Edward has recovered the throne.

Will the summer of American's discontent lead to a glorious winter for the American people?

According to "The People and Their Government," a poll by Pew Research Center released April 18, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans believe that "Congress is having a negative effect on the way things are going in this country today."

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Americans are very unhappy with the performance of the Congress, and when voters are unhappy, they take action. Less than a quarter (22 percent) of Americans say that they trust the government, according to the Pew poll. It notes, "The last time we were this weary of our government was from 1992 to 1995 (reaching as low as 17 percent in the summer of 1994), and 1978 to 1980 (bottoming out at 25 percent in 1980),"

Our weariness and unhappiness are leading to anger and frustration.

More than three-quarters of Americans are angry or frustrated with the federal government. Pew reports that 21 percent of Americans say they are angry, and 56 percent say they are frustrated with the federal government.

There is a reason that the Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration are pursuing financial reform. The category comprising banks and financial institutions was the only category that had a negative rating (69 percent) higher that of the government.

Other negative ratings included the following categories: large corporations -- 64 percent; national news media -- 57 percent; and the entertainment industry -- 51 percent.

The best way to deflect those who don't like you is to go after those whom your detractors dislike even more. It appears that this tactic might work, at least for the short term. But the summer is long and will be hot.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.