Autumn is upon us, but it is making me a little bit sad this year.
I have always loved autumn.
I love the brilliant colors, the chilly air and the smell of oak burning in a fire pit.
Whereas spring is about new life and fresh starts — and summer about toil and sweat and a one-week break at the beach — autumn is about harvesting your hard-earned fruits.
It’s about peacefully accepting that the warm weather will be gone soon — that the bitter cold winds and snow will soon be here.
Autumn used to be about sitting around a fire with good friends, sipping hot apple-cider toddies and laughing into the wee hours – and taking a much-needed respite from politics.
But this autumn it’s impossible to escape politics. It’s also impossible to avoid worrying about the state our country is in.
Just a few years short ago the economy was booming. The cost of food and utilities was low relative to our incomes, which were strong and growing. The world was relatively stable and peaceful and prosperity was improving for billions across the globe.
Now we have major wars in Ukraine and Israel and the cost of goods and services have soared and continue to inflate.
According to the U.S. debt clock, our national debt stands at nearly $34 trillion — about $100,000 for every person in the country — and it continues to soar at a rapid pace. How long can such spending go on?
Crime rates are up across the board.
According to Newsweek, crime is increasing everywhere, not only in big cities. With organized looting by gangs out of control and going largely unpunished, many big retailers are closing stores.
And with so many people entering our country through our open borders — including those coming here with the sole purpose of attacking us — how long will it be before the next major terrorist event happens?
This past weekend I had some friends over to my house to enjoy the autumn splendor, but our firepit party got rained out, so we stayed inside.
Normally, such autumn gatherings are filled with joy and laughter, but this year we all shared a sense of worry for our country — and the world our children and grandchildren are going to inherit.
We all expressed a sense that our world has gone mad — that nobody is in control — and we are all feeling anxious as we wait for the other shoe to drop.
Of the many autumn events I have hosted, I cannot remember any of them being filled with such fear and concern.
But that is what is on our minds at the moment — and what is on the minds of many people. The recent Associated Press-NORC Research Center poll finds that 78% of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction.
I’ve always believed you should never bet against America, but our political leaders had better start making better decisions than they have been making.
That means things like limiting government overreach and spending, responding decisively to fight crime and choosing effective and wise leaders who will bring stability to the country and the world.
Unfortunately, at the moment it appears that our only choice for future leader of the free world next year will be between one fellow who will be 81 and one fellow who is almost that age.
But I still have hope that we will get our act together so I can get back to hosting fun and happy autumn gatherings into the wee hours.
Copyright 2023 Tom Purcell, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Purcell, creator of the infotainment site ThurbersTail.com, which features pet advice he’s learning from his beloved Labrador, Thurber, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. Email him at [email protected].