I have no statistics to share. I speak from my limited perspective.
The picture of America I see from where I live is one of enthusiastic optimism. News cycle aside, the average American I know is respectful, generous, and fair.
Let me explain. In the course of my daily life, I have observed the following:
I drive somewhere every day. Most drivers observe the rules of the road, stopping at lights, and staying in their own lane. Most drivers are insured and legally licensed, driving cars that they maintain for the safety of themselves, their passengers and the people around them.
I work part time at a school. Most teachers love the kids, and do their best to instill principles of good behavior and good study habits into the students. Most students listen and heed the teacher’s instruction. My employer is patient and respectful to me and is openly appreciative of my work.
I maintain a business at home. The majority of my clients respect the rules of my business and pay on time. The government officials with whom I interact to pay my bills are kind and respectful, treating me as they wish to be treated. The students I teach listen to what I say and are happy to be in my home.
I have been involved in car accidents and other events where law enforcement and emergency personnel were needed. In every case the individuals serving me were exactly the kind of people you would want to help you out in theses situations. They served with helpful attitudes and were efficient in their duties.
I shop at local retail stores. I have been humbled by the clerks who make minimum wage that have exceeded my expectations for customer service. Lately it’s been so great that I leave the store shaking my head in wonder. I’ve engaged in conversations with strangers that have left me exhilarated with hope for the future.
I’ve spoken with older people and veterans who know so much more about life than I do. They have many challenges with technology and the changing world. Their contributions to our society are quietly revolutionary though they may never be credited.
I’ve had numerous experiences of strangers murmuring, ‘I’m sorry,” if they accidentally cut in line at a store, or bumped me while walking. I’ve had more strangers than I can count smile at me congenially in public places.
I once had a guest in my home from another country. He asked as we drove down the road, noticing an emergency vehicle, “Do people in America stop for Ambulance?” Surprised at the question I answered, “Usually,” and was more stunned by his answer,” They don’t do that in my country.”
There are glaring exceptions of course. I am saddened by loud profanity in front of children and drivers who seem to think the road exists just for them. I’ve had poor customer service. The news reminds us of needless, senseless tragedy daily. My father was killed by an irresponsible driver. I’ve been the victim of fraudulent activity several times. I’m not ignoring the existence of evil. But I firmly believe that evil is best overcome by good, not more evil.
From my perspective, Americans still practice the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Keep on doing the next right thing. Don’t give in to fear mongering. Most Americans want a better life for their children and those around them. By all means go out and vote. And whichever way you vote, be assured that I respect your right to differ from me. This is America. That’s how we roll.