IS ANYONE FEELING bad about America? Does it seem our best days are behind us? Are you having a hard time making ends meet? Do you have college loan debt? Are you struggling to pay for health care? How about saving for retirement? Are you a victim of gender discrimination or racism?

How did America get so distracted from its core values? What happened to our love for country, honesty, integrity and keeping our promises? Aren’t we better than this?

It’s said we are a divided country. The fact is we’ve been a divided country for a long time. It didn’t just start two years ago when Donald Trump was elected president. It started many decades ago and has continued during the terms of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush (41st), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush (43rd) and Barack Obama.

Democracy tends to give us the government we deserve. Long before Trump, American politics were taking on an increasingly partisan tenor. Trump did not create the polarization of everyday life. Unfortunately, he’s simply riding the wave that was already coming ashore.

I’ve heard many pundits and opposition leaders say they pray for a November blue wave in which democrats take control of either the house, senate or both. They want us to believe this result, even by a slim margin, would return civility to the world order.

Bobby Jindal, former governor of Louisiana, warned that democrats would be disappointed to learn that America will not wake up after the midterm elections and find their Trump nightmare over and everything returned to normal.

But America is not alone. Economic and political discourse can be found in nearly every neighborhood. The whole world is dealing with immigration issues caused by an exodus of people, cultural differences and economic hardships, the result of a changing social environment.

Watch the news and see protest marches, rampant crime, violence and corruption on the streets around the world. Even Pope Francis and the Catholic Church are investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, abuse and harassment on many levels.

Imagine trying to raise a family amid the violence of Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua). Venezuela is in chaos. Great Britain has its share of political squabbles, Belgium’s government is dysfunctional and Greece’s economy is in shambles.

Iceland is recovering from a banking sector collapse. France, Portugal and other European countries have long-term debt problems.

Middle Eastern countries have met violent destruction; Iran has a restless population; Saudi Arabia is adapting to women activism; China, Russia, and North and South Korea are dealing with generational changes.

Italy has feuding government officials, same with Germany, Spain, Poland and Ireland. Israel’s problems date back a thousand years. Japan’s economy has been in a slump for nearly three decades.

That may all be true, but America is supposed to be the example for the world. We’ve always had problems, but we’ve always been able to set aside the animosity and move ahead.

James Baker III recently penned a column for the Wall Street Journal in which he bemoaned the fact that the current partisan divide, if left unaddressed, threatens to undermine our democracy. We all recognize there are problems, but we’ve failed to resolve them.

Baker, 88, served as secretary of state under George H.W. Bush. Leaders of both political parties respect Baker and consider him a true elder statesman. He said we are in trouble on many fronts because the art of compromise is dying.

Baker recalls a time 40 years ago, when our leaders were willing to reach across the aisle, work together, do some horse-trading and then, compromise when the interests of the American people demanded it.

Today, whatever one party proposes, the other opposes reflexively. If a legislator attempts to bridge the gap, his or her party considers it a betrayal. This resistance to compromise stands in the way of America’s advancement.

Baker said government has become incapable of tackling critical issues, leading to a continuing deterioration of America’s political dialogue. No one wants to compromise. No one is happy with half a loaf.

This lack of civility and respect for the political center has led to ruthless rhetoric, mean-spirited partisanship and crippling polarization. There is an echo chamber and tribalism, a hyper-partisanship, added Baker.

Instead of a middle-ground majority, the process is being hijacked by far left democrats and a group of right-leaning republicans. It’s tearing us apart. A Gallup poll has shown that almost 65% of Americans would oppose their son or daughter marrying someone with a polar set of beliefs.

The midterm elections are Nov. 6. Will anything be decided? Will it be a blue wave favoring Democrats, a red wave keeping Republicans in control, a pink wave with women taking seats or how about a rainbow wave with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer community rising up?

Reaching common ground has become nearly impossible today because political opponents see each other as the enemy, in moral terms, rather than as misguided patriots. Cable news channels pander to legions of zealous followers.

Elections are won by very slim margins. That means the minority party still represents 49% of the population. The minority feels no obligation to compromise or give in to the majority.