SACO — Professor Daniel W. Drezner of Tufts University deserves a C-minus for root cause analysis in his Washington Post commentary, “Is Trump stressing us out?” (July 28, Page D1).

Sure, President Trump can cause stress among many registered Democrats. He is an obsession of the Democratic National Committee and a biased liberal press corps. No, as an independent voter, I am not defending Trump – just trying to remove elitism and jaundiced views from our national dialogue.

Below, I offer a sample list on the subject of sources of national stress:

Family breakdowns from divorce and overworked single-parent households are a direct hit to everyone’s affordability issues, not to mention, a source of family discord and dysfunction for most of them. This is real stress.

Congress has no term limits. While wisdom was built into our Constitution limiting presidents to two terms maximum, checks and balances are similarly needed for an ineffective legislative branch that clearly doesn’t legislate. They prefer to fulminate on C-SPAN. Our election funding process is corrupt and will not fix these issues through the current election process. Support for this conclusion can be seen by the average age and tenure of sitting members of Congress. They are old and their terms are too long.

Religion has been under assault by the agnostics. Catholics appear to be the most affected (not exclusively) by today’s conditions, given that the ugly issue of abortion has resurfaced. I still remember Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin asking federal judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett whether she considered herself an “orthodox Catholic,” implying that she could not possibly serve as an objective judge. Oh, so now Catholics are OK to discriminate against. Catholics are stressed.


Mass shootings are out of control and our Second Amendment needs to be modernized to take assault weapons from the hands of the malcontents in our society. Now, that is my opinion, one not shared by National Rifle Association members. No, an assault-weapons ban will not end death, just mitigate event impacts. Feel stress?

Black Lives Matter was born from excessive violence committed by our men and women in blue. They should be respected for what they do, day in and day out, but the travesties committed by the weak in the police cohort have been a clear source of agony and anger (rightfully so) among our black population. Street marches are a sign of stress.

Our national political parties are anchored on the extremes with little compromise or little concern for the American people. Unfortunately, we have gone from a government of, by and for the people to one of pledging allegiance to our parties. This is a national travesty and Trump is not the cause, just a major contributor to its intensity.

Ineffective governance contributes to another hot-button issue: immigration. Again, you see all the anger about it, but no successful legislation to revamp it for over 20 years. Again, Trump did not create it; he simply deals with it differently from the opposition party. Feeling stress?

Those of us who care about the future of our children see zero fiscal discipline by our national leaders. Trump has added over $2 trillion to the deficit while the economy is booming, but of course, prior presidents created $20 trillion of debt and the Democrats running against Trump have proposals to buy votes exceeding $5 trillion more. Our children and grandchildren are doomed. I feel stress …

Prescription drug prices have been out of control for over 10 years, but yet again, no substantive action in Washington. Price hikes are a disgrace. Feels like stress.

There is much more, but let me conclude that student debt has evolved to a national issue. Colleges increased average tuition 200 percent between July 1998 and July 2018, nearly four times the increase in inflation. As a result, a medical degree at a college like Tufts costs $80,000-plus per year. You wonder why we have student debt issues and high medical costs, when the university pipeline is built upon such economics.

If Tufts’ Drezner truly wanted to frame more rational causes of stress, I would submit that being more pragmatic is better. In other words, look where the rubber meets the road – don’t package some blue-sky hypothesis.

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