First of all, a message to C.C. Fulton: leave cat juggling to professionals.

As Forest Gump would say, that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Now, on to other matters …

I don’t get depressed much and I am not a professional victim (nor do I play one on TV). But if anything were going to depress me it might be this recent offering from the Associated Press:

“Happy birthday, America? This year, we're not so sure.

“The nation's psyche is battered and bruised, the sense of pessimism palpable. Young or old, Republican or Democrat, economically stable or struggling, Americans are questioning where they are and where they are going. And they wonder who or what might ride to their rescue.

“These are more than mere gripes, but rather an expression of fears - concerns reflected not only in the many recent polls that show consumer confidence plummeting, personal happiness waning and more folks worrying that the country is headed in the wrong direction, but in conversations happening all across the land.”

Come on, AP, tell us how you really feel - and don’t bother to substantiate it!

OK, here’s the deal: the constant, thundering bombardment from the national media about how the supposed horrors of living in America isn’t helpful, and downright sickening, in fact. No, things aren’t perfect. Of course there are problems. But life in America isn’t the way the national media portrays it. There is still a great deal that’s right about the country and we’re not waiting for something or someone - re: government - to come to our rescue.

Or at least, you shouldn’t be. If you are, you’re going to have a long wait for nothing.

The media can’t wait to tell us in five-minute increments: gas prices are “soaring” and “spiking” and “racing” toward (fill in the blank), followed by “heh heh, ya better get used to it, schmuck!”; analysts say the price of milk is soaring to (fill in the blank); experts say a million banks could fail next year.

And what, exactly, are we supposed to do with this information?

I don’t want to suggest that everything is hunky-dory or that some people aren’t suffering and struggling economically. But my psyche is neither battered nor bruised, I do not have a sense of pessimism that is palpable, I do not question where I am or where I am going and I don’t wonder who or what might ride to my rescue.

At least, I don’t think those thoughts unless I listen to the AP and other national media telling me how rotten life in America surely is. The media apparently views the country as a land of losers and victims - or if we’re not that already, they’re going to do their darndest to make sure we are.

I don’t have a lot of dark, depressed thoughts - unless I dwell on how close we seem to be teetering toward socialism and surrendering our personal freedoms to a nanny-state. Now, that scares me.

But we’re not there yet, and while we’re dancing mighty close to socialism, I don’t assume we’re going to actually step over the edge. We might. But there might be enough people around to say “not today.”

Make no mistake, I view things through the prism of someone who doesn’t have a lot of personal problems; not too many terrible things have happened to me or my family, and while my family and I aren’t wealthy, we have everything we need. I haven’t fallen off a track while walking in the park.

So someone in different circumstances might say “it’s easy for you to feel optimistic; you don’t know what I’m struggling with.”

Point taken.

Maybe I’m naive. But I believe if the media and government will stop interfering, stop assailing the nation’s psyche with doomy-gloomy pronouncements and predictions, and let the free market and capitalism work, these things are going to work themselves out.

If and when we give in to socialism, I’ll probably feel feel depressed.

Until then … happy birthday, America. I’m still sure.

Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com.