Residents worry country headed in wrong direction

The anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence is a time of great celebration. It is also a time of reflecting on where we have been and where we are going. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, one of the largest independent research organizations in the country, conducted a poll of 1,053 individuals from June 23-27. Their findings suggested that many Americans are concerned with the direction the country is headed.

Several Lima area residents also expressed concern about issues we are facing. Lima resident Tom Sneary, a Vietnam veteran, stated, “[The country is] headed in the wrong direction.” Sneary is concerned about the breakdown of the family. His wife, Deb, a retired Registered Nurse, believes that young people “don’t have the right guidance.”

Deb Sneary is concerned about the sense of entitlement that she perceives in our society. The Snearys shared examples of individuals who declined job offers because those individuals either did not want to work or did not want to start in entry-level positions. Deb Sneary said she began babysitting when she was 12 years old and “I learned what it meant to work.” Her husband believes there is “too much free stuff [from the government]” and it is “pushing us toward socialism.”

Deb Sneary is worried about the rising cost of housing, utilities and food. She is especially concerned about those with a fixed income. She believes impoverished persons may suffer additional health concerns due to their limited resources. She cited the obesity epidemic as an issue that may be, in part, related to the less healthy but more economical food choices individuals are making.

The Snearys believe that society has become so focused on individual rights that decency is sometimes sacrificed. Tom Sneary implicates the mainstream media as a contributor to the changing moral climate.

A 69-year-old gentleman who chose to identify himself only as “Jim,” was asked how he feels about the direction the country is heading. He replied, “For the rich, it’s going very well.”

Denise Ware of Lima believes the economy “could be better.” She expressed concern about those who are homeless. She shared examples of individuals who received funding from the West Ohio Community Action Partnership to obtain housing in her apartment complex but states several of those individuals did not have the ongoing funds to maintain the monthly rent payment. Many of those people now find themselves homeless or with inadequate housing.

The recent need to adjust his living arrangements is something Chase Willoughby from Lima has also experienced. He believes that many of the lower cost houses are being “bought up” by landlords who make minor improvements and then rent the homes at prices that are unaffordable to people with his income level.

The 28-year-old landscaper appreciates the increase in wages that some employers are offering. He believes the improvement in wages “shows concern for employee retention.” Willoughby’s concern is that the increase in wages is offset by the rise in inflation. He sees a widening between the middle and lower income classes. He believes the current economy impacts these groups more than the wealthy.

Willoughby states that he is concerned about the safety of women with the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade legislation. He believes that if women are supported, many of them will choose to continue their pregnancies. He supports improved medical leave and government-sponsored child care.

Expressing concern over the recent increase in mass shootings, Willoughby believes that many of these events are, at least indirectly, tied to economic pressures. He said, “So many people feel like they’re struggling alone.”

The NORC poll findings indicate that dissatisfaction with the way President Biden is handling the economy has been growing. Biden’s economic approval rating has declined from 51% a year ago to their recent poll finding of 28%.

Clearly, there is work to be done in this great country of ours. As American citizens, each of us has a responsibility to make positive contributions. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The fate of America cannot depend on any one man. The greatness of America is grounded in principles and not on any single personality.”