The mean-spirit that seems to dominate the halls of Congress can discourage even the most optimistic among us. Special interest dollars hold sway over the interests of regular citizens. Billionaires with oil money spend millions to place fear-based, ads of inaccurate content. A single issue vote derails elected officials. What ever happened to making decisions for the good of all?? The party-line voting resembles bullies in the playground. Abandon health care reform and affordable care and we’ve just thrown thousands under crushing debt. (This latest move comes as researchers announce that the US will see a tripling in Alzheimer’s rates by 2050, with the number of affected Americans jumping from 5.2 million now to more than 13.8 million over the next few decades.) Is it any wonder that the United States ranked 17th in a global survey evaluated "the happiest countries" in the world? One newspaper pundit pointed at 17th place with pride. Huh?? I find that ranking dismal. Think we care about families? Look at this "More countries are providing the workplace protections that millions of Americans only dream about." The study notes that the U.S. is only one of five countries out of 173 that does not guarantee some form of paid maternity leave. (The other countries in this special group are Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua, New Guinea) How is that for an illustrious group!! The list could go on and on. Can’t we get back to paying attention to what matters most? Can we reclaim our resilient spirits by stopping the scare tactics and focusing on AMERICAN interests and not special interests?