Congress sank to a dismal 10% approval rating in a new poll. Most Americans believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction. But ask people about their own lives and local communities, and you are likely to get a very different answer.
According to a Gallup poll, well over 80% of Americans are satisfied in general with the way their personal lives are going.
Despite negative media coverage of "fly-over country" and the "rust belt", exciting things are happening in towns and cities across the country.
"This still can be the country people would like to think it is," says well-known journalist James Fallows of The Atlantic magazine and co-author of "Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America." He says that most people don't realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself.
The book and our interview offer a surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place. James and his wife Deborah Fallows wrote the book together, traveling to 31 towns and cities over four years in their single engine plane.
The America they saw is deeply conscious of its problems-- from the appalling opioid epidemic to decades of economic dislocation. But many communities are coming up with practical, lasting solutions, in contrast to the rigid paralysis of national politics.