Why the U.S. is Having a Nervous Breakdown

Jack Goblin By Jack Goblin, 27th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/33hojniv/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Not just the U.S. government but indeed the whole country seems to be confused, divided, and angry. A hypothesis as to why.

The Current Situation

Observers both in and out of the U.S. are looking at this country and wondering what’s going on. Dissent and hostility between the two main political parties has reached the point where the government is often paralyzed, occasionally shut down, and there is even talk of a default on U.S. debt.

Socially the country seems to be going in opposite directions, sometimes at the same time: The election of the first mixed-race President, acceptance of gay marriage, efforts to decriminalize marijuana and a rethinking of harsh prison sentences. These, taking place at the same time as increasing intolerance towards immigrants (legal and otherwise), efforts to put restrictions on voting in the name of eliminating voter fraud, and a massive, destructive rage on the part of the Right. Combined with a conviction the country is on the point of becoming a dictatorship or undergoing collapse and therefore extreme actions are perfectly justified.

In short, a nation that seems to be schizoid and in the grip of dementia. Many people have put forward their theories on what’s happening; here’s mine.

A retrospective

We have seen something similar to this before, in the 1960′s and 70′s. The first Catholic President elected, and reviled by the Right as a secret Communist who would destroy the country. Civil Rights marches and demonstrations, and brutal police action and bombings and murders in response. A large portion of an entire generation rejecting the values and traditions of their parents, and the Greatest Generation coming down HARD on those dope-smoking, long haired, filthy hippies and their protests. In other words, the Baby Boomers – that massive surge of children born after WWII – coming of age and starting to affect things with their social, fiscal, and political muscle. Kennedy said that the torch had been passed to a new generation; but it was not passed entirely willingly or without trouble.


And now let us consider the background, today. Demographic trends show that soon the majority in the U.S. will be minorities, not mainly white. Social mores are changing, with many of the assumptions about what is acceptable and what is not being challenged. The bill for the reckless and irresponsible deficit spending of the past 50 years is starting to come due, just as the people who demanded such indulgence, and elected politicians who provided it, are reaching retirement age.

And suddenly, the reassuring belief that it will be our children and grandchildren – and ONLY them – who will have to pay the debt off is looking not that certain. Creating fear that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and pensions may be reduced or even lost, and retirement become a pipe dream. The Baby Boomers – numerous, self indulgent, egocentric, the tail that has wagged the dog of American politics for decades – are getting old, dying off, and losing THEIR grip on power.

And they’re taking it even worse than their parents did. Much of what we are seeing is a temper tantrum by those who want it to be 1960 again. When the middle class was large and white and privileged, government was smaller (and so were the bills for the benefits it provided), and the conservative values rejected at the time were in full sway. In the past politicians were elected who promised the public they could eat their cake and have it, too, through the power of deficit spending. Now the ones being elected are those who say they can turn back the clock and make things as before.

And the one won’t work any better than the other.


What is most unfortunate is, if my theory is correct, these problems will continue for years yet. Until the Boomers have lost so much of their power, or gotten so discouraged, they can no longer cause trouble. And there is no telling how much damage will be done until then.


Anger, Baby Boomer, Demographics, Generational Change, Greatest Generation, Medicare, Politics, Social Security, Social Upheaval, United States

Meet the author

author avatar Jack Goblin
Was born. Haven't died yet. Don't intend to anytime soon.

Thank you much for reading my articles. I hope they brought you pleasure and enlightenment. :)

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Oct 2013 (#)

Thought provoking, Jack. I see democracies in increasing disarray everywhere. The main issue is the never ending politics. When we elect leaders based on a clear agenda, how can we oppose them from implementing them? And also, it is easier to talk while outside power but the reality hits home when one sits in the chair! We should allow our leaders to function based on election results - siva

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
4th Nov 2013 (#)

yes most interesting and you have laid it out so succinctly..thank you Jack...

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