Americans, on the other hand, are self-indulgent, arrogant and lacking in sophistication compared to other, more mature societies. We can get away with all of that by the simple fact that we won those wars, and several others, all of which were fought in other countries, with the attendant damages and destruction. Except for 9/11, no enemy has succeeded in launching a serious attack on our mainland, and in reality the World Trade Center and Pentagon were not particularly damaging to the nation as a whole, compared to the tens of thousands lost behind the Manginot Line, or the Ardennes and Iwo Jima.
Following WWI, America celebrated while the rest of the allies tried to rebuild their nations and gene pool. American industry, modernized and expanded for war production, was the most powerful economic engine on the planet. Peace was at hand and America threw a party. The Jazz Age and prohibition combined to create the party of the era, and later the hangover of all time.
But that blowout created an attitude among Americans that we were entitled by birthright to party on. Growing up in the depression, the Greatest Generation imitated their Jazz-era custom of throwing drunken brawls as the base entertainment of troops on liberty. By the ‘60s, the affluent society sent its children off to college, where the beer-bust culture was carried forward, and the advent of recreational drugs simply expanded the options for pleasure seekers still chasing the rainbow of the perfect party in rock dancehalls and mass concerts — none of which quite got it.
All of which would be nobody’s business except that it forms the image of America in the minds of the rest of global society. When the party’s over, reality re-intrudes and the competition for jobs in a world corporate economy leaves our under-educated party timers in the dust of India and China, where teenage students score higher than diploma bearing U.S. college graduates.
The champagne is running out and the caviar is being replaced with tune crackers. It’s time to leave with regret.
“It’s been a lovely party, but we really must go. Work in the morning, you know.”
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.