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Voters Fret About Future, Find Little Solace in Candidates' Promises

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posted on Apr, 24 2004 @ 02:56 PM
"It's hard to put my finger on it, but things are a mess in this country right now," says Lewis Dowell, pulling off a John Deere hat and running his hands though his hair. The 60-year-old retiree adds, "I'm not sure if either guy can fix it."

They talk and tease and argue over the same strong coffee at the same faux-wooden table in the same way, day after day - all without resolving a central question: Should Democrat John Kerry replace President Bush? Their disquiet is typical; American voters of all stripes share, if nothing else, a vague sense of unease.

Judging by more than six dozen interviews, one element unites an otherwise polarized electorate - a perception that life in this unrivaled superpower is not quite right, that change is coming too fast and leaving too many people behind.

"These are not good times in many ways, both for people in their own lives as they worry about jobs and opportunities, and for the country - given the continued threat of terrorism, and Iraq," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center in Washington.

"Nobody in Washington seems to really care or know what to do," says Lucy Werenicz of Coon Rapids, Minn. Werenicz, who declined to give her age, just landed a new job after being out of work for six months, but money is tight.

"I'm worried about losing my house. I'm tired of worrying about it," says Werenicz, who normally votes Democratic but has not made up her mind about this year's election.

"I'm tired of worrying about my friends being out of work. I'm just tired, you know. This world makes you tired," she says outside Oasis Market in suburban Minneapolis. "Neither one of these guys is going to make that go away."

"Things are askew," says the mother of four. "It's hard to explain, but nothing feels quite right."

"I've seen people change. I've seen the economy change. I've seen our nation's security change," says Ziegemeier, a white apron spread across his lanky frame. "It can't be good."

"Now if a family is barely surviving on two salaries, what happens when they lose one?" asks Stein, the Republican.

"The house goes back to the bank," replies the plumber, mixing sarcasm with the day's coffee. "Isn't that the American way?"

Although I always enjoy a good political discussion, this AP article really tells much about the mental condition of the typical American. I myself am tiring of the current direction that seems to be playing out. I long for the times prior, where things seemed so much more predictable and understandable.

It is becoming much more difficult to define the difference between an alleged conspiracy, fallacy, or actual facts anymore.

I look forward to a time of stability and knowlegable understanding, yet I do not see that light at the end of the tunnel.



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