THERAPIST IN CHIEF
This is not about party politics or policy; it is about character.
I’m constantly amazed by the apparent emotional fragility of the current crop of Americans. Heaven forbid that we’d be thrust into something half as daunting as WW II.
Recall that, during that epic struggle for the heart of civilization, we were expending several times the economic resources (measured as a percentage of all our wealth), every day of that war, and we were devoting our personal resources to the struggle (measured as all war related daily work, both civilian and military, and the huge battle casualties) at a vastly greater rate than anything we’ve seen since, especially in the last fifteen years.
Our entire casualty rate in Iraq-Afghanistan is the rough equivalent of a single battle like Okinawa, and that battle was but a single chapter in a long book of heroic sacrifice.
Oh, did I say sacrifice? It didn’t mean to disturb the faint hearted among us. It seems that term has taken on an entirely new meaning.
Note to the Boomers: The sacrifice of your WW II era parents was something entirely different from saving up to get a big flat screen television, being forced to cancel three credit cards or – God forbid – cutting back on your Starbucks expenditures.
This media-abetted deterioration of the American psyche and (dare I say it?) of the national character is the direct result of our replacement of a robust, honor-based ethos for something far less vital and infinitely less admirable.
We have cashed in the struggle-achievement model (and the corresponding ethos of moral law-real world consequences) for the therapeutic model (and the corresponding ethos of moral gesture and no real-world consequences).
It was a bad deal and we about to find that out.
We now face an election for the Leader of the Free World (as Americans used to call it) in which one candidate personifies the old national character and the other represents the new national mood.
The electorate seems all too ready for a rebound romance with a young, untested, attractive suitor who fills an empty psychological space in the national soul.
It seems (absent a miracle) that Barack Obama is to be the “Therapist in Chief”. And we are about to be very, very disappointed.