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Is America on edge?

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No one knows just yet what caused Thursday's scare on Capitol Hill in DC.

But it happened in the midst of a government shutdown, a fight over health care legislation...and all of that during a time in our history when political parties are so polarizing, sometimes it's hard to get things accomplished on the Hill.

UT Psychology Professor Art Markman says as far as the shutdown goes, in DC there's a constant reminder that something's up because of the empty streets.

But are the American people on the whole a little on edge right now with everything that's been going on?

"Imagine that this weren't the government for a moment, imagine it was two friends of yours who are having a rocky relationship. Who are at the point where they are so far removed from each other that they can't even have a conversation anymore. You really have to fear for their ability to overcome the problem. And I think that we as the American people are feeling that exact thing right now. None of us see the way out of this," Markman said.

We asked some people in downtown Austin how they're feeling about the current political climate as well as the shutdown.

"Absolutely the people are on more edge, we cannot believe this is happening in our country. It's just got everybody all squirly," said Aggie Gladwin.

Gladwin's son is in the military. Thankfully he will still be getting paid. But soldiers like him weren't quite sure that would be the case earlier this week.

"The fact that he might have had to give up his paycheck...that's not right. They put their lives on the line every day for us. They should not have to worry about their paychecks," Gladwin said.

Kurt Nielsen is in town for Austin City Limits. He's not too upset over the shutdown, even though he thinks it was the wrong move.

"I guess I'm too even-keeled. People tell me I'm pretty relaxed, I don't get too on edge," he said.

Speaking of ACL, Professor Markman has advice for those who are stressed out about the issues of the day.

"ACL is coming this week and if you have tickets...go! And if you don't have tickets, stand close enough to Zilker Park to hear the music, you know. Get out and do something and give yourself a chance to relax a little bit and to see some of the issues that we're discussing in a new light," Markman said.

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