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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Americans divided by our likes, dislikes

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Ah, we Americans are a fickle lot indeed. I doubt you could get universal agreement in this country on any topic at any time. That is our strength and our weakness perhaps. Here's just the latest example.

Just before the holidays, the Associated Press decided to ask the American public who they thought were the biggest villains and the biggest heroes of 2006. By no stretch of the imagination did I believe there would be agreement on this sticky question but once again, one need only to examine the results to see exactly where we are.

Leading the list of the biggest villains of the year was none other than President George Bush with a comfortable lead over second place finisher Osama bin Laden. But before you ponder that result you might want to know that the biggest hero of 2006 - according to the poll - was, once again, President George Bush, who finished ahead of the troops fighting in Iraq.

Clearly we are a nation divided in so many ways. But the list provides more insight into our national likes and dislikes.

For example, when it comes to villains, John Kerry, Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton were among those thought more villainous than Satan. And when it comes to heroes, Jesus Christ narrowly outpolled Bono and Angelina Jolie.

Were a politician to accept this list as accurate, the most impressive Presidential ticket in 2008 would be Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey, who both fell behind Bush and our troops in the hero category. On the other villainous side of the chart, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi are among the top politicians viewed with disgust by the American public.

And finally, to illustrate our fascination with Hollywood, the AP asked which celebrities would be the best and worst role models. No surprises here. Oprah easily outdistanced Michael J. Fox as our favorite role model celeb while the ever-popular Britney Spears and her running buddy Paris Hilton together polled nearly half the vote as the worst role models.

So there you have it. We Americans can't decide if a person is a hero or villain with any level of agreement.

One final note. Former President Bill Clinton, I believe, is the man who started the divide in this country. You either loved the guy or you hated him. There was very little middle ground. And in keeping with that attitude, Clinton received the same number of votes for hero of the year as he did for villain of the year. But then again, are you really surprised?

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen