My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


The Syndrome Has A Name 

It's called "middle-age crisis."

The American character had an inspiring start in the nature of its founding. Whether it was the free peoples who roamed the country for millennia, or the courageous explorers who crossed oceans to find greater liberty, there has always been a streak of independence and freedom in the American character. The Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their Sacred Honor to the principle of Independence; they then fought a fool’s war against the greatest army in the world . . . and won. Four score and Seven years later the country was torn apart by idea that All Men Are Created Equal. And shortly thereafter the American character swept into wild and unknown spaces west of the Mississippi in search of adventure.

I used to be like that. When I was younger, I did a lot—A LOT—of really stupid things because I wanted the adventure and I believed in my own indestructability. I would have been in the front of a column of wagons searching for Mesa Verde 100 years ago, and America was very much like a post-adolescent boy, yearning for freedom, oblivious of the dangers and the limitations around them. It was with that same spirit that America jumped into World War I, where we irritated our allies in much the same way as a brash young man irritates his elders. But that brashness made us try what “couldn’t be done,” and we won that war. Twenty years later we got drawn into a conflict not of our own choosing, and attacked it with that same spirit. One of my favorite stories of World War II is of Doolittle’s Raid: how a small band of brash young pilots launched (for the first time) bombers off of an aircraft carrier to hit Japan just 4 months after Pearl Harbor.

And it was that same spirit of adventure and exploration that launched mass-production industries, rock n’ roll, and put a man on the moon.

There was no insurance policy then; there were no guarantees of ANYTHING—fame, glory, and success were slightly less likely outcomes than failure, suffering and death. But America leaped at them with both feet, without looking, because that is what our national character demanded of us.

I’m not like that any more. I like reasonable assurances and mitigated risks; I have responsibilities and can’t just go do strange things on a whim. And frankly I’d prefer to talk my way out of a confrontation. To be honest, I miss that younger me, but I’m a little embarrassed by him, too.

The country—America—is a lot like that now, too.

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