Many have observed the incivility of our current society, particularly in America. One would think that in a land that has, literally, unlimited wealth, the populace would be quite happy. This, of course, is not the case. While bloggers, as obsessed as we are with the latest tidbit of news, tend to blame this on the chaos in the World, particularly in the midEast, I would beg to differ.
My humble observation of the average American is that he/she knows little of what is going on outside their own little life. Part of this may be the normal psychological relex to block out horror. It is hard for me to see, day after day, the carnage visited on the children of Iraq, as so well shown in Gorilla's Guides. Others of my compatriots will turn away from this horror and, "out of sight, out of mind."
But, that is not the point I want to make. I think that we have to look at the power structure as it relates to age in our society. When my generation was young, youth was worshiped. In spite of their grumbling, adults were anxious for new blood in many fields, particularly in science (after Sputnik.) Young people were able to move rapidly into the top echelons of society. I remember a mentor in graduate school that was a full professor at Brown before the age of 30. This would have been unheard of in the world of our fathers and grandfathers.
That assumption of power continued as the wave of the baby boom passed over the populace. However, those who came into power have been very reluctant to give it up and to welcome new blood as they were welcomed. It is my opinion that this is the basis for the incivility. That younger people are tremendously frustrated, particularly in their ability to control their lives. (It doesn't help that the power held by the American State in 2006, economic and military, is about as far beyond imagining as to seem to be another planet.)
Usually I would put in a blurb here about the current Administration and its tenacious hold on power and our lives, but I'll refrain.
I could, of course, be wrong. Humility is usual not one the attributes of my generation, however. Particularly when it comes to admitting that you are wrong on something really big. Like a War. Like invading Iraq.
Anyway, I am going to continue to think about this.