Why are Americans so darn happy?

And why do we seem to want to change everything?

Here’s something I don’t get about the whole “change” mantra that’s sweeping the country right now: What specifically does everyone want changed? Ask ten different people and you’ll get ten different answers. Well, after 6 of them answer “get Bush out.”

People do realize, though, that change can make things worse? Given the state of things right now, change is more likely to make things worse than to make them better. Granted, we’re at war, but most of the country isn’t directly touched by that war yet, and the wars we are fighting are in part premised on preventing wider, more dangerous wars from breaking out. You might answer back that we’re all touched by the Patriot Act and whatnot, but whatever security measures we have to deal with today pale in comparison to curbs on freedoms during some previous wars.

You could argue that the economy is headed for recession, but compared to downturns of the past, it’s not likely to be that bad. We’re unlikely to see, for instance, 10% unemployment or interest rates above 20% as we saw during the Carter years. Gas prices are high, but they’re not so high that they’re changing behavior yet, and we aren’t rationing or waiting in lines hours long to get gas. Etc etc. By nearly any standard you can apply, Americans are happy and content. And we have reasons to be that way.

Change the personnel in Washington? Fine. Most of the people there would be more useful if they were doing something else, and the town could use some fresh minds. But make sure the change you want and seek is a good one. It would be all too easy to make change for its own sake and get pain in the bargain.