Feeling overwhelmed? Columnists say Americans have 'too many things to worry about' in 2022

Feeling overwhelmed? Columnists say Americans have 'too many things to worry about' in 2022
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The early 2020s have brought one disturbing headline after another, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the months of unrest that followed George Floyd’s murder to the January 6, 2021 insurrection — and now, with Russia having invaded Ukraine, Europe is seeing its most dangerous conflict since World War 2. New York Times opinion columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens take a look at the many problems of 2022 in an article published on March 14. And the headline, “There Are Almost Too Many Things to Worry About,” captures its tone perfectly.

The article isn’t a typical op-ed, but rather, a transcript of a Collins/Stephens conservation. And their discussion underscores the fact that there are, to be sure, a lot of things to worry about in 2022.

The Times pundits cover a lot of ground during their conversation, from former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempt at a political comeback to the GOP assault on abortion rights to the story that has been dominating media headlines in March: the war in Ukraine. Inundated with sexual harassment allegations, Cuomo resigned as governor in 2021.

“Cuomo has about as much chance of making a political comeback in New York State as Ted Cruz does of winning a Mr. Congeniality contest,” Stephens told Collins. “And friends of mine who have known Cuomo for decades usually describe him with a vulgar noun modified by the adjective ‘colossal.’”

After discussing Cuomo, Collins and Stephens turn their attention to the restrictive anti-abortion laws in Texas and other states and the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022.

Collins told Stephens, “I fear we’re headed back to the pre-Roe world when women in some states had the right to control their own bodies — just took it for granted — while women in others had to end an unwanted pregnancy by going to a doctor for undercover treatment, or making a sudden trip to visit a relative in a different state. The abortion pills will make a difference, for sure, but the women I worry about most are the ones who, because of youth, ignorance or the avoidance that comes from terror, just don’t face their problem until it’s too late for an early-stage intervention.”

Stephens said of the GOP and abortion, “I’m not sure how it helps them. Close to 60% of Americans think abortion should be legal in most cases, and a concerted push by some states to effectively ban it could lead to political blowback for Republicans at the state level. If the Supreme Court repeals Roe this term, I could even see the decision galvanizing Democrats for the midterms to keep the Senate.”

Collins and Stephens also discuss the effect the Ukraine crisis could have on the 2022 midterms.

When Stephens asked Collins if she had any thoughts on a Democratic message for the midterms, she replied, “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s certainly been a big help — not only providing the president with a villain to fight, but a villain he can also blame for soaring gas prices…. I just hope this doesn’t distract from the critical goal of clean energy. The second the Russian crisis began, the right started demanding that we revive the Keystone pipeline.”

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