Optimism: The Great Generational Divide?
Grace Santos and her 20-something-year-old friends were having a picnic at Thompson Park on another beautiful day Sunday.
She's visibly giddy, practically glowing. She's happy about today and excited about the future.
"My life right now, I'm pregnant, I'm expecting a little one, so I'm very optimistic about the future for the life of me and my unborn child. I'm pretty excited," Santos said.
Grace and her friends represent a pocket of optimism in a sea of pessimism.
An August Associated Press-GFK poll found that only about half said it's likely today's youth will have a better standard of living than their parents. An NBC-Wall Street Journal survey asked the same question and only one-third were hopeful about youth's future.
But, in both polls, optimism was greatest among youth.
You don't have to go far to find a lack of optimism about the future. For example, there's a sign on the side of Route 11 that reads: "Evil prevails when good men do nothing" followed by a list of political leaders the man who put it up believes fit that bill.
The man who put up the sign, 60-year-old Larry Colten, isn't optimistic about America's future.
He says the lives of his five children won't be as good as his own because of the job market under the Obama administration.
"We tell them to go to school, get a good education, they're going to be able to come out and they're going have the American Dream. Unfortunately a lot of those kids coming out of college are not able to find the careers, yet they still have the debt," Colten explained.
Larry Colten says it's just not the same America he grew up in. Between childhood obesity and a lack of work ethic, he doesn't think today's youth are set up for success.
But for Grace Santos? She's going to college and works at a daycare, and says that's fine for now.
She is after all only 22.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, Watertown, NY
On Wall Street