In the wake of the opioid and gun epidemics, which have killed so many of us, and a toxic political environment that could push our most vulnerable over the edge, some experts had anticipated that America’s average life-span would begin to shrink.
Recent studies, however, suggest quite the opposite: we are living longer and, in fact, the rate of increase has grown, especially since the beginning of 2017.
Researchers see no medical breakthroughs that would explain the trend, and statistics show no decline in suicides or accidental deaths.
Looking for answers, the experts have shifted from dissecting their subjects to interviewing them, especially the aged, the chronically ill, and the poor, where the gap between expected and actual death-rates has been most striking.
Results are still preliminary, but, surprisingly, suggest that the current political climate is a key factor in this good news. Here are short interview excerpts that suggest key themes for further study:
It Beats Staring at a Blank Screen:
I love The Three Stooges, but you can only catch them once in a blue moon on TCM. Now, though, it’s all back and a thousand times better and it’s on TV all day, every day. Sure, I’ll probably lose my medical insurance, but at least I’ll die laughing.
Strong Emotions Keep the Blood Pumping:
I’m waiting for Crooked Hillary (or, alternatively, “Our Idiot President”) to go to jail. It hasn’t happened yet, but I know it will. I can wait, and then die happy.
It’s Healthier to Talk than to Seethe:
The decline in common decency had me nearly suicidal. A lot of others at The Home felt the same way and we got to talking. There were so many of us, we started a regular discussion group. If rationality and civility can’t come from the top, maybe it can start at the bottom, right here. Now, I have a cause to live for.
A Strong Belief System Can Help You Endure:
I’m a religious person who believes that the End of Days is near. All the signs are that Hell is upon us. I WILL hang on so as not to miss The Rapture.
It’s Better to be Worked Up than Tapped Out:
I have dangerously low blood pressure, but those stupid Tweets have raised it to normal. Now, if I jump from my chair to attack the TV, at least I don’t risk a blackout and a fatal fall.
Set Specific, Meaningful Targets:
I just want to live long enough to vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and throw that bastard out (or, alternatively, “… re-elect My Man”).
Think what you may about our current political climate, it has given some of us a new lease on life. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.