A recent poll conducted by NPR-IBM Watson Health had some disturbing results. The poll, conducted in November 2018, surveyed 3,002 people nationwide and found 84% of respondents said that Americans were, on average, angrier than they were 10 years ago.

The poll also found that 42% of Americans were angrier than they were this time last year. Twenty-nine percent said watching or reading the news often made them angry, while another 42% said the news “sometimes” made them angry.

Older Americans — age 65 and up — were less likely to say that they were often angry when checking the news. Eighteen percent of Americans under 35 said that they often were angry while using social media platforms, while just 7% of respondents 65 or older said the same.

Ninety-one percent of respondents also agreed that people were more likely to express their anger over social media platforms rather than in person.

“I think of anger as a health risk,” said Anil Jain, vice president and chief health information officer at IBM Watson Health. “The fact that the survey showed that we have a generation of Americans who believe that they are more angry than they were a generation ago tells me that this is going to lead to some consequences from a health point of view.”

This poll doesn’t make me angry; it makes be sad to see that we’ve reached this point. “Mainstream” society may have thought the peace and love movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s were goofy, but they were flat out wrong.

While on vacation the past week in Arizona with my family, I witnessed a couple of human behavior instances that were disturbing, as well.

We were in a little traffic jam driving through Sedona when a guy got out of his pickup truck in stopped traffic for a little road rage. He walked up to the car ahead of him and started pointing his finger and yelling at another driver who didn’t let him into the lane.

The second wasn’t rage, but a subtle action that stunned me. We were standing in line to get our helmets, jackets and lights for a tour of the Bisbee mine when a guy leads his wife and two kids halfway up the line and butts in — very impressive. I’ve seen his kind on my unfortunate visits to Disney World.

How can anyone think that behavior is OK? Have they led such entitled lives that they don’t see a problem with it because it’s all about them? Or, have we become so desensitized that it doesn’t matter?

Now I know that was only a couple of examples and we met some amazing folks across the state, but I still don’t get it.

Personally, unless a politician does or says something stupid or lies, I don’t get too upset. I’m old enough to have just about seen it all. It’s all about perspective — what’s truly important and what isn’t.

However, I do make the mistake of reading some comments submitted about a story — not a good idea. It can certainly fuel the flames of anger and should be avoided.

Tom C. Doran can be reached at 815-780-7894 or tdoran@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow him on Twitter at: @AgNews_Doran.

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