It is such a simple question. And yet, so effective because it makes one think and is broad enough that it can be applied to so many different situations.
For me, the answer is (somewhat thankfully) a mixed bag of yes and no. But for the vast majority of the country, as well as "the country", the answer is a resounding no. And it is the question that was used so effectively by Reagan, and lord knows why it isn't being used by the Democrats now.
Because, if you really boil it down, I don't think there are many people out there, certainly the vast majority of We the People, who can look at different parts of their lives and come up with a truthful "yes" to that question.
Six years ago, I was well on my way to being partner at Andersen. While I have landed safely and have been gainfully employed ever since (very luckily), the career path is now more of a dead end for me. But I am thankful that I have been employed this entire time. Six years ago, my marriage was falling apart due to a crippling eating disorder that plagued my former wife for her entire life and ultimately lead to a tragic end to it. I was in the midst of a horrific divorce that was made worse by very wealthy and nasty spiteful in-laws and nearly led me to have to declare bankruptcy. But through that all, I now have a phenomenal and beautiful (inside and out) wife and learned a lot from the dark days that I went through for much of the past six years.
But I digress, as I didn't really want this diary to be all about me. What I was thinking about yesterday during my 8 hours in the car to and from Boston, as well as on my way into work today was that there are so many things that have happened over the past few years that negatively impacted so many people in so many ways. And here we are, still struggling to break through and knock some sense into the rest of this country, despite all of the lies, despite all of the crimes, despite all of the suppression of rights, despite all of the faked hysteria and "feigned outrage", despite all of the hypocrisy, cronyism and criminal negligence.
We have an increasing gap between the super wealthy (or as Bush calls them "the haves and the have mores" or "my base") and the rest of the country. Wealth is way up - at the top tier, as evidenced by the recent Forbes 400 most wealthy list all being billionaires for the first time ever, while real wages and income of workers aren't doing so hot. Nearly fifty million people don't have any health insurance, and prices for healthcare are increasing at a rate way in excess of wages and inflation.
The economy, looking at it from a way that would affect peoples' lives, is in the tank. Yes, the stock market is stronger than it has ever been in terms of the levels (as my mother pointed out to me the other day in supporting the "strength of the economy"). But this is due more to corporate profits, which are being put into their officers' pockets, or even worse, kept in the company and not passed along to the employees. Yet, with a very low rate of personal savings as well as higher debt, funky mortgages allowing people to own homes that they may soon not be able to afford and higher prices for everyday goods and services, this doesn't bode well for the average person. Jobs are being lost and replaced (if at all) with lower paying jobs, with less (if any at all) benefits for employees. The minimum wage is disgustingly low - even in those states which have raised their minimum wage.
At best, negligence and at worst, criminal responsibility by Bush, Chertoff, "Brownie" and much of the government led to the loss of a major American city due to a hurricane that everyone saw coming, except those that were responsible for helping the citizens affected by it. Photo-ops and tough talk did nothing as there has been very little progress in the region and there are still hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were ruined, who lost everything, and at a minimum were severely traumatized by the shocking lack of empathy or support by those very "leaders" who love to talk about how their job is to "protect us".
We have an administration that, at best was incompetent with respect to recognizing a true terrorist threat (hell, our own National Security Advisor was due to give a major foreign policy speech on 9/11 about missile defenseand was not even focused on Al Qaeda). Then this same administration used their colossal incompetence to stir up fear in this country - betraying the trust of its citizens. Not to mention NOT hunting down those responsible for the attack, but lying, leaking classified information to reporters, endangering national security all to illegally invade and occupy a country that had nothing to do with the attacks.
We have a morally (and in many instances, intellectually) bankrupt administration, a complicit press who hides the truth that they were aware of months earlier while focusing on issues that are meant to do little more than divide the country, create scapegoats to divert attention from the real issues affecting the citizens of this country (like evil gay marriage, immigrants, lib'ruls, brown skinned people, poor people or anyone else that isn't a blood thirsty mental midget who can't think past "kill Kill KILL". We have elections that are outsourced to a major republican affiliated donor and supporter which we now know had its people alter the software in the voting machines for actual elections and that such machines can easily be hacked and results changed without leaving a trace.
Our true war heroes from years past are treated like they are terrorists. Our brave soldiers that are being sent to fight for lies are being killed on a daily basis with little mention on the news. We have lie after lie about all of the murder and destruction going on overseas in our name. And all of this death and destruction going on overseas is only INCREASING the threat of terrorism. The only discourse and debate going on is how much we are allowed to torture prisoners that we hold indefinitely without charging and whether all of our Constitutional rights should be suspended because of this "evil enemy that knows no bounds". But truly, what is a worse enemy of our freedoms than what we are faced with right here in our own country?
And (I won't harp on this because everyone else is doing a much better job than I would) we have an "opposition party" that is more concerned with dry powder than actually using every tool at their disposal to stop the continual eroding of our Constitutional freedoms and rights. We have a Congress that is more interested in promoting cronyism
Of course, the talking meatsticks, the "so called liberal media" as well as a good portion of that aforementioned "base" have willfully, hell, gleefully, lied and smeared anyone that dare speak truth to power, and have called for the murder of a Supreme Court Justice, call acts of patriotism treason, all while actually making statements and committing acts that could actually constitute treason.
Deficits are at an all time high. Debt is at an all time high - both personal debt and that of our country as a whole. People overwhelmingly think that this country is on the wrong track. The Constitution has been trampled on for nearly six years by the administration and the rubber stamp Republican Congress. And those that dare stand up and say "ENOUGH!" are branded as traitors, are threatened in clear cases of domestic terrorism or have their lives and livelihoods ruined.
Democrats should take a long hard look at this question - it is one that has so many answers. I am sure they will agree that the answer is "no". And I am sure that most of "We the People" will say "no".
And it is a very telling question, when it comes to the state of our nation, and the state of people's lives. Especially when you consider which party has been in charge of every branch of government as well as the major media over the past six years.