Hopes and Fears for the Next Decade

Where America Stands, generic.
Where America Stands, generic.
CBS News begins a new series "Where America Stands" to assess how our our country is doing as a new decade dawns. CBS News Anchor Katie Couric reports now on what your hopes, fears, and dreams are for the next decade.

First off, our fears.

"It's either you are going to lose your job, lose your home or terrorists are going to come and attack us," said Kevin Lawton, 44, of Washington Township, NJ. "You never now what's coming - it's a scary time right now."

"We're losing people left and right to cancer," said Barbara West of Atlanta, Georgia.

Where America Stood, 50 Years Ago

"People in this country going hungry," said Marjorie Rosen, 82, of Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Rochelle Johnson of Atlanta is concerned about obesity in children.

"You see children who are 30 or 40 lbs overweight and they're still in elementary school," she said.

Other fears concern America's wars abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan. John Allen of Clinton, Connecticut is concerned about his son, who's a Marine.

Staff Sgt. Precious Grant is most worried about, "not making it home to my children, I have a four-year-old and a one-year-old."

According to a new CBS News poll, most people say they are generally optimistic about America's future. There is an age gap however: with those 65 and over least likely to be optimistic and younger Americans more so.

CBS News Poll

But both young and old see interesting times ahead:

Sixteen-year-old Stephenie Daley from Los Angeles said, "if you have no goals, if you have no aspirations, you're not really living. You're just standing in the middle of time as it goes by."

More than one person said that there may be a female president in the future.

Arby Moorman, 75, from McKinney, Texas, is optimistic about the future.

"It's just going to be awesome. I think good awesome," said Moorman.

But back in the here and now, you told us you're worried about the economy, are split about just how well government works, and generally want out of Iraq and Afghanistan

"My dad was in the military and over there for a year so," said 19-year-old Jenny Carr from Los Angeles. "I don't want any more families to go through that."

Eleven-year-old Marley McAliley doesn't remember a time when we weren't at war.

People were concerned about the economy.

"I have never seen a time in my life that this many people that I know are unemployed," said Kevin Lawton, 44, from NJ.

Atlanta's Charles Prather is concerned about the country.

"We only have one country but at times it seems we can't get together and row the boat in same direction."

Gerry Circelli from Texas thinks, "we've got too much government and that we need less of it."

But most of us say we're pretty satisfied with the way things are going in our lives, and have a list of goals for the next ten years. They include, starting a business, and buying a home. Finally, people filled us in on the secret of life, and advice they wish they'd listened to.

Michael Petito from Miami Beach said, "really listen to what your mother and father say about saving money because it's the truth."

But what about the secret of life?

Greg McElheney from Sheridan, Illinois suggests, "just put God first."

Jonathan DeSouza, 19, from Washington, D.C. said, "the secret of life is, love. That's all I got to say about that."