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


The Syndrome Can Be Chronic, Not Fatal 

The 2006 and 2008 elections and the Health Care debate tell us that the American character has aged—we are no longer the brash, vibrant, and reckless people who dominated the latter half of the 20th century; we are much more akin to our older brothers and cousins in Europe who prefer a governmental infrastructure to manage risks and make sure that nobody has to face hardships alone. England just announced that government spending represents 52% of their economy—kinda like the older brother whose grown daughter just moved back home with her heavily-tattooed boyfriend. France has a subculture of Muslim immigrants who live in slums, go to madrassas and who never assimilate—like the aunt whose hip replacement forces her to be a shut-in. And Greece is, well . . . Greece is in hospice care.

We can fight aging. I watch what I eat (a little) and exercise more than I used to so that the effects of aging are put off. The country can do that, too: the renewed interest in the Founding Fathers and the civic engagement of the Tea Party movement are indices of “youthful vigor.” But it’s easy for that energy to expend itself (like a New Year’s resolution), and it will be critical for that engagement to continue, even through the seemingly unrelated debates about immigration and energy policy. The character of our nation used to be grounded in rule of law and self-sufficiency; “maturity” seeks accommodation and dependence. Which side of the argument will prevail?

Because the problem with aging, even when you fight it, is that it truly is irreversible: it is not possible, as either an individual or as a country, to youthen. And that’s not all bad—none of us reckless young adults would have been in that position if somebody hadn’t been responsible for us enough to help us survive our own follies. But it is different, and it does make us somewhat less exceptional. And when the world needs somebody in twenty years with the spine to stare down a bully, they’ll have to look somewhere else.

We’ll be settling in for our afternoon nap.

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