For those recently retired, the vow was to jettison the cares of the everyday working world, to chill, to use this newfound freedom from employment frustration and hassle to de-stress and be happy all the time, well, at least most of the time. Certainly way more than when we were working, right? Yes, there will be the challenges of family, home and nest egg management. The balancing of how close and engaged you are with your children and grandchildren’s lives. Not to mention the increasing focus needed on healthcare.
But, hey, every day is Saturday now right? How stressful can life be? Comparing it to the workday filled with the congested, frustrating commute, office politics, suffering under narcissistic, self-serving bosses, and narcissistic, self-serving clients; what’s not to love?
The sad truth is, unless you truly disconnect by isolating and leaving the “grid” behind, the world will make you manic; whether retired, working, boomer, millennial or adolescent. Let’s examine some of the forces at work in American society today that seem to have everyone on edge in an attempt to deal with a rapidly changing US of A.
Bad Drivers and Declining Enforcement
Whatever happened to adequate driver education? Either it is inadequate, or, many on the roads are given to just ignoring the rules of the road (even if you think you know them you probably don’t – take a peek at the sites referenced below to test your knowledge1,2 ) and are unwilling to put forth the effort toward common courtesy. For those who learned to drive 40, 50 years ago, rules of the road were drummed into our heads and then tested regularly to ensure competence and compliance.
Observed behavior says many post-boomers generational drivers have had inadequate driver training. Poor driver education, compounded with modern day life pressures, has many in too big a hurry trying to cram too much into each day leaving them constantly behind a desired schedule. This is their rationalization for running red lights, speeding, dangerous, aggressive driving and flying off the handle any time someone attempts to call them out for their contemptuous behavior.
A part of the reason they do it is there is little to no traffic infraction enforcement. This defund the police nonsense is only exacerbating the situation. Too many competent police officers are retiring or resigning, based largely on a lack of due respect. Significantly reduced budgets are preventing the hiring of replacements. Even if we come to our senses and re-fund the force to an adequate level (hopefully well above previous “defund” inadequate levels), the rookies will take years to replace the competency lost.
Combine all these factors with frightening level of distracted driving occurring on our roadways and the notion of defensive driving has gone from an oft touted media mantra to a second by second requirement for survival. It feels like the battle for reason on the roadways is lost.
The din of political rhetoric is enough to drive you mad if you even try to stay informed. The belligerent tone and tenor of political discourse is just adding to citizen mania. The bifurcation of both parties (Socialists to moderates on the left and moderates to Libertarians on the right) is adding to the difficulty of accomplishing anything even slightly controversial. The perceived ineffectiveness of government, and the relentless, criminally intrusive ,media has led to a reluctance by anyone competent and rational to run for national-level office.
And, by the way, neo-Nazi skin head racist whackos never have and never will be accepted into any reasonable political discourse sponsored by conservatives associated with the Republican Party. Ultra-progressive avowed Socialists, however, are inching closer and closer to the mainstream of the Democrat party.
The bifurcation of the left, and to a lesser degree the right, consistently results in vacillating behavior by elected leaders regardless of party affiliation. The left’s injection of a racism perspective into EVERY political conversation, combined with the notion that white people are inherently evil, has turned the heat up on the political stove to new, seemingly unbearable levels. Conservatives attempt to paint all Democrats with the Socialist brush where fiscal responsibility equates to raising taxes necessary to pay for endlessly increasing social programs. The last twenty years have demonstrated that Conservatives are only slightly more fiscally cautious having their brains beaten in at the ballot box for any sort of demonstration of fiscal courage. This leaves everyone enormously frustrated and stands in the way of any coherent, logical dialogue toward bipartisan political accomplishments. This leaves us with endless brinkmanship as we march from one time-driven crisis to the next creating yet more unnecessary stress.
Each party has consistently had a “radical wing” that hold positions that the centralist portion of both parties would never broadly advocate for during formation of campaign-driven party platforms or the policy positions of those in power. That statement has held true until the Biden presidency.
President Biden has typically sided with the radically progressive wing of the Democrat party in major policy matters during his time as President. The election of Joe Biden as a centrist has proven to be a fairy tale.
The Geo-political Caldron
The perceived threat of socialism; plus Chinese, Russian, Iranian and North Korean aggression and genocide; rising crime rates; porous borders; a rebirth of effectual terrorism in Afghanistan (thanks to our recent “surrender” to the Taliban), Syria and elsewhere; inflation; a flagging economy; lingering effects of the pandemic and climate change are just some of the perceived problems mainstream media bludgeons us with 24/7. If you care even the least bit about this country, a place where hundreds of millions have flourished over the past 245 years based on the foundation laid by the genius of our founding fathers, then you have to feel pain.
The Left has a not-so-secret agenda associated with opening the southern border to virtually anyone. Their not-so-secret belief centers around this notion, if the mostly illegal immigrants are showered with government services (free education, free healthcare, housing support, etc., etc.), as they become citizens (or the Left finds a way to give non-citizens the vote), they will remember that Democrats were the supporters of fully open borders and purveyors of an endless flow of government benefits. Given the open door and all the “party favors”, the belief is illegal immigrants will eventually become strident members of the Democrat party. Should this theory become reality, then the millions of new Democrat voters will ensure overwhelming victory at the polls for decades.
What the Progressives fail to consider is that the vast majority of these immigrants experienced a Judeo-Christian upbringing. Where hard work, lack of government handouts, and self-reliance represent the singular path to success in this world. The vast majority pursue a working life, regardless of how initially menial, and many find that their hard work yields financial success and the desired self-esteem that comes with it. Often, a significant number attempt to become entrepreneurs. And many of those recognize that the political organization that espouses these Judeo-Christian principles as well as low tax, smaller government, work ethic credos or beliefs, typically beneficial for small business, is also the party with conservative principles.
Regardless, it appears this early immigrant factor, combined with the naivety of millennials and later generations (according to credible research the majority of Millennials state that Socialism is a desirable form of government) ensure a statistical numerical voter advantage for the progressives over the next 5-7 years. This advantage may persist long enough to allow progressives to alter the balance of power and enact legislation that permanently suppresses conservative political power.
The Extinction of Common Courtesy
Aside from a posable digit, the other human development that distinguishes us is the existence of common courtesy. Something most of we boomers learned from the greatest generation and, with diminishing success, attempted to pass on to our children.
Common courtesy has been very strongly present in western societies. In a number of cultures around the world common courtesy is not a thing. A strong caste system exists supposedly empowering some to treat those “beneath them” with indifference or distain. These tribes to nations, some with the capability of considerably dominant military-style violence, can go well beyond the absence of common courtesy to unconscionable, soulless, wanton destruction of homes, schools, cities and, most egregiously, human life on an unimaginable scale.
In America, the disintegration of common courtesy is more subtle. During the past three decades, so many here appear to be so crazed with the pressure of everyday modern life that they have little time for common courtesy in driving, shopping, and virtually every facet of their so-called lives.
A significant catalyst to this elixir of anxiety is the coddling of violent criminals and the identification of criminals as victims. Most people with common sense as their guide cannot fathom how we came to this place where the world seems so up-side-down. Where government has thrown up their hands when it comes to adequately dealing with mental illness. With illegal guns so readily available to felons and the severely disturbed alike, guns become the easier target of outrage instead of demanding government successfully address mental illness and the incarceration of dangerous criminals.
It’s no wonder half the country is on Xanax (or other similar potions) and the other half are frequently doing neurotic, manic and even psychotic things causing that other half to have so much anxiety that they are taking Xanax all day every day. It’s a manic world we live in. Which causes one to ponder, where do we go from here?