It seems like for decades, that simple question as been asked on every side of the political fence. “What is wrong with this country?” is a question asked from sea to shining sea. Depending on who you ask, it can be a short or long list and it is always one thing or another but the one thing almost never considered, in any real sense, is the maturity of the country.
Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with the maturity of individuals. In fact, the problems with this country have little to do with individuals. Sure, we can lay some of the blame on this administration and that administration. We can blame the government, religious organizations, ethnic groups, racial divides but that answer is actually very, very simple. We have not matured as a country.
Before the United States was colonized, how old was Britain? The German States? Italy? China? Japan? Many of these areas have cultures that extend hundreds of years in the past before America was a twinkle in an eye. When you look at a scale, America is actually relatively young. A prodigy to be sure but still young and in some respects naive about the world around it. Even Russia has been around longer, in various forms.
So what about now? A lot of what we are seeing is in fact, growing pains. We are no longer the star kid on the block. Our nation is maturing and learning its rightful place in the world. It isn’t about being a superpower or is it blazing a progressive path. How many times have you heard someone say; “American lacks a national identity?” I mean sure we use the word “freedom” a lot but half the country doesn’t even know what it really means.
Even after the Vietnam debacle, where we turned our backs on our troops, we have had pendulum swing to the opposite where now anyone in uniform is worshiped as demigods. We haven’t learned when authoritative actions are warranted and when they aren’t. We keep swinging wildly for the fence but never seem to stay on base long. These are not what you expect from a mature, well-developed nation. In other words, our country is like a big kid trying to stay a kid without facing the responsibilities of getting older.
We could sit all day and list specific problems in this country and only half of the ones identified would turn out to be real problems. Our economy is maturing and out world view is maturing regardless of if we want it or not. Our nation is getting older and we are kicking and screaming along the way. Conservatives, liberals, libertarians, all of us are part of the problem and until we actually stop and take a look at what is going on. We are going to keep groping in the dark while the rest of the world wears the T-shirt.