Joe Klein's trip across America. Americans get to talking about politics these days. Topic A is the growing sense that our best days as a nation are behind us, that our kids won't live as well as we did, that China is in the driver's seat. This is a popular, perhaps even dominant, theme in the U.S. this season but it doesn't begin to describe the anguish that dominated every conversation about politics I witnessed during a four-week trip across the country. With a month to go before a crucial election and campaign ads cluttering the TV, people were in a heightened state of political awareness. I've covered more than a few midterm campaigns, but this one seems particularly fraught. Many Americans also were confused and frustrated by the constant state of war since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But for every occasion they raised Afghanistan, they mentioned China 25 times; economics completely trumped terrorism as a matter of concern. Encountering Anguish and Anxiety Across America - TIME An interesting read.