62% no longer see America as Reagan's 'Shining City on a Hill'
What happened to American optimism and sense of exceptionalism?
"This Fourth of July, a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that no matter how polarized they might be politically, Americans finally seem to agree on something: that everything about America is getting worse.
In his 1989 farewell address, President Ronald Reagan famously described the United States as a “shining city on a hill” — a beacon of hope and a model for the rest of the world. According to the Yahoo News/YouGov survey, which was conducted between June 29 and July 1, a majority of Americans (52 percent) believe that Reagan’s remark was accurate at the time he said it; only 21 percent disagree.
[. . .]
“I am in Texas, COVID-19 is on the rise, and there’s quite a lot of anxiety,” said poll respondent Alexandra Foulks, a 62-year-old native of France who now lives in Dallas with her husband.
Foulks scoffed at the notion of America as the proverbial “shining city on a hill.”
“We are banned from Europe right now,” she said. “How could we be shining?”
Overall, the poll found the American people in a historically pessimistic mood heading into a holiday weekend traditionally marked by family cookouts and fireworks displays — events that have been canceled across the country in the midst of a surging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 128,000 Americans and is currently infecting more than 50,000 each day."
[. . .]
Yet America’s bleak outlook goes beyond the pandemic. Sixty-four percent of Americans, including 67 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans, say race relations — the focus of mass protests since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in late May — are also getting worse, versus just 12 percent who say race relations are getting better. Sixty-one percent say the economy is getting worse, versus just 21 percent who say it’s getting better. Sixty percent say America’s standing in the world is getting worse, versus just 15 percent who say it’s getting better. And 58 percent say crime is getting worse, versus just 10 percent who say it’s getting better. (Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the last quarter-century; it has also declined during the pandemic.)"
Notice the irony of that last point: perception vs facts about crime.