Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 19-Feb-07
Anger and confusion dominate the Sunday news talk shows

Web Log - February, 2007

Anger and confusion dominate the Sunday news talk shows

Democrats are agitated and enraged, nervous Republicans are crossing their fingers.

A week of Congressional bumbling that seems to have accomplished little and satisfied almost no one ended with Sunday talk shows that were equally useful.

The Senate this past week failed to pass that "non-binding resolution" opposing the President's "surge" policy. Finally it passed in the House, and then went back to the Senate, where it failed again.

Democratic party Senators were almost crazed with rage, once the resolution failed to pass, reminding me again of the vitriolic hysteria of NBC's Chris Matthews.

The Republicans didn't get hysterical, but it was obvious that they were just as confused and depressed as the Democrats.

Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on Face the Nation on Sunday. <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: CBS)</font>
Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on Face the Nation on Sunday. (Source: CBS)

Republican Senator Richard Lugar from Indiana, who voted against the non-binding resolution, didn't say anything about supporting the President's plan on Face the Nation. He advocated the development of a bipartisan plan for Iraq with the President and leaders from both parties. He particularly referred to the joint bipartisan effort in the 1980s where Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement to save the social security system.

I've written about this several times before. In fact, the Republicans and Democrats did get things done in the 1980s. The Democrats and Republicans got together and passed a tax reform law. They cooperated with each other to change the Social Security system to make it a sounder system. After that, they cooperated again to specify new rules to control the budget deficit. Even as late as 1996, Democratic President Bill Clinton cooperated with the Republican congress to eliminate the welfare entitlement.

However, those things happened with the nation's leaders were in the G.I. and Silent generations, the generations that survived World War II. Today's leaders are from the Boomer generation, and the Boomer Democrats and Republicans are so incompetent that they can barely agree on anything. The only thing about it that's funny is that they can't even agree enough to vote themselves a pay raise.

So Senator Lugar's wistful hope of a bipartisan agreement to save the day is completely unrealistic, and won't happen.

Sen. Ted Kennedy, screaming at the top of his lungs in Senate on Saturday. <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: Fox News)</font>
Sen. Ted Kennedy, screaming at the top of his lungs in Senate on Saturday. (Source: Fox News)

Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts was screaming hysterically at the top of his lungs on the Senate floor on Saturday, saying the following:

"We on this side are interested in protecting American servicemen from the crossfire of a civil war. Some on the other side are more interested in protecting the President from a rebuke."

Kennedy is essentially saying that the Republicans and the President are guilty of treason because they're allowing American soldiers to be killed gratuitously, just to keep the non-binding resolution from passing. Apparently Kennedy believes that the President would permit any number of our soldiers to be killed, rather than be embarrassed by a non-binding resolution.

This doesn't make much sense, though. Did passing the non-binding resolution in the House change the number of American soldiers being killed in Iraq? Then how would passing it in the Senate have changed the number of soldiers being killed? And of course there's always the counter-argument used by pundits: Passing the non-binding resolution only encourages the enemy to kill more Americans.

So Senator Kennedy's screaming tirade, accusing anyone who disagrees with him as treasonous, doesn't make much sense.

Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid was not screaming. He was cold and deadly as he said to CNN's Wolf Blitzer:

"This war is a serious situation. It involves the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of this country. So we should take everything serious. we find ourselves in a very deep hole, we need to find a way to dig out of it."

Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Carl Levin <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: CNN and Fox News)</font>
Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Carl Levin (Source: CNN and Fox News)

Blitzer asked him, "Maybe I misheard you, but you're saying this is the WORST foreign policy blunder in American history?" His response: "That's what I said."

(That's funny. Wasn't the purchase of Alaska the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history? Here's how it was described: "Seward's Folly. After the astonishing purchase of Alaska [from Russia, in 1867] for about 2 cents an acre, the public began to insult the purchase and the involvement by William Seward. The press and various newspaper companies started announcing Alaska as a worthless piece of real estate with its cold temperature, frozen waste land, and rugged terrain. Seward and the purchase later were termed "Seward's Folly" because of his part in the supposedly wasted purchase. He also received other ridicules as it was also called "Walrussia" and "Seward's icebox". Later William H. Seward left office and died in 1872. Not soon after, it would be shown that this no-good wasted piece of land was rich and abundant in every area ranging from natural resources and numerous species of wild animals.")

Anyway, Democratic Senator Carl Levin from Michigan was equally cold on Fox News when he was presented with an interesting political conundrum.

Moderator Chris Wallace played an video clip from White House press secretary Tony Snow, saying this: "Members of Congress are taking their own gamble here - they're gambling on failure - some members at least." Wallace then asked Levin, "Senator, aren't some democrats in effect gambling that the surge will fail, and won't you end up looking foolish if it should actually succeed." Levin responded thus:

"The course that the President is on is a failing course. It's been failing for four years. We're trying to change that course to one that has the maximum chance of success. And the maximum chance of success is to limit our mission to get us out of a sectarian civil war, so it's the President's course which is a course towards failure."

And this is perhaps the whole point: That the Democrats are not only gambling on failure, they're politically committed to failure. Every one of these Senators affirmed this in one way or another. They've committed their political futures to American failure in Iraq.

The Republicans, I suppose, aren't much better. Many of them expect failure, but at least they're hoping for success. The Democrats responses indicate not only that they expect failure, but that they're hoping for failure.

Isn't it amazing that it's come down to this - that one party is hoping for our country's failure in a war?

When Sandra Day O'Connor stepped down from the Supreme Court in 2005, I wrote about how acrimonious things had become, and that they were going to get a lot worse. That's what happens to a country during a generational Crisis era, such as the one we're in now. We can see how people are becoming increasingly confrontational and less willing to compromise.

During America's last generational crisis period, in the 1930s, the acrimony directed against President Franklin Roosevelt was enormous. He was accused of one thing after another, including treason. Just google the phrase "fdr scandal" to see what happened. Republicans were extremely critical of Roosevelt's handling of WW II. In America's previous generational crisis period, the Civil War, Democrats were very acrimonious about President Lincoln's pursuit of the war, and as late as 1864, the Democratic platform called for peace negotiations with the South, to end the war as quickly as possible.

So this kind of hatred and vitriol is, unfortunately, very common in times like these.

It ends when some major event or events (like the bombing of Pearl Harbor) shock the nation into coming together for their continued survival. In Generational Dynamics, such a time is called the "regeneracy," because these shock events regenerate national unity. It's impossible to predict what events will trigger an American regeneracy at this time, but possibilities include a major terrorist attack on American soil or a devastating military reversal.

Richard Engel, NBC News Mideast Bureau Chief, on Meet the Press <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: NBC)</font>
Richard Engel, NBC News Mideast Bureau Chief, on Meet the Press (Source: NBC)

Amidst all the nonsense that was spoken on the Sunday morning talk shows, there was one moment worth repeating.

NBC news Mideast bureau chief Richard Engel has just returned from several years in Iraq. Here's what he has written recently, as quoted on Meet the Press:

"As Iraq has changed, I have changed. The war has cost me my marriage. I have had friends killed and kidnapped, survived bombings and attempts on my life. I have seen Iraqis freed from the numbing, terrifying fetters of totalitarianism, and had their lives destroyed by the religious bigotry, ignorance, greed and opportunism unleashed by this war. It has changed my outlook. Violence and cruelty now seem, to me, to come easily to mankind, a new belief that disturbs me. But I am also more appreciative of how quickly life can turn for the better, or for the worse."

Engel has gone through a very interesting transformation, an understanding of what happens in a generational Crisis War, like our Civil War or World War II. During these periods, torture and cruelty to one another are the rule. It's part of being human, but a part that's only exposed once in a lifetime, during a crisis war. This is why there's such a major difference in world view between people who live through a crisis war (like our G.I. and Silent generations) and those who are born afterwards (like our Boomers and Generation-X).

That's why there's such an enormous political clash between generations during generational Awakening eras, like America in the 1960s. The older generations understand that "violence and cruelty come easily to mankind," as Engel said, while the younger generations are without a clue. Today, the Boomers are the nation's leaders, but they still don't have a clue how the world works. That's why all of them, Republicans and Democrats alike, are so confused about what's going on. As we approach the Clash of Civilizations World War, it's well to remember that, before it's over, all Americans who survive will undergo the same transformation that Richard Engel has already experienced. (19-Feb-07) Permanent Link
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