Oregon Magazine

Children have been gradually taking control of this country
by Art Hyland, Contributing Editor

October, 2011 -- The occasional adult left in America’s governments have become tokens. How this transformation took place is something that warrants review. I call it the rise of Whining Syndrome, which I believe was born during the People’s Park riot in Berkeley, 1969. Yes, prior to this was the SDS--Students for a Democratic Society, but they had disbanded that same year; it took a California twist to make Whining Syndrome a national movement. Up to the time of People’s Park it was still semi-normal to assume college students were young adults, most even quite responsible. The Park protests escalated beyond the control of the University of California and the local authorities to where the California National Guard was called in by none other than Governor Ronald Reagan; he was battling a transformation he was aware of, and few understood. This experience was one that helped shape his future presidency, but it marked a permanent divide between Americans for greatness and those joining the Whining Syndrome.

The Park demonstrations and the childish antics that led up to the riot itself occurred in June, 1969 (almost a full year before the famous Kent State anti-war riots). But this incident wasn’t really anti-war; it was THE quintessential, anti-establishment protest that promoted the UC Berkeley campus to its long-time moniker, Berserkely. It might be the exact time when a nation, and importantly, its media, began the march from being responsible to purposeless.

The Whining of America had begun ... 

Well, those Berkeley types never forgot their experiences nor their attitudes. Anti-establishment in their youth, they refused to become establishment themselves, kicking and screaming against the status quo or the status quo’s life-styles (I’ll ignore their hypocritical love for the technology handed them by the establishment). They chose pursuits to right the wrongs of the 70s: they went into politics and/or the media covering it. These were obvious career paths to the control they never had.

To them, there existed a huge bonus, or perhaps the real attraction to entering politics or the media covering it: there was relatively little technical experience necessary. Their “basket weaving” college courses were as worthwhile qualifications as serious subjects. Past participation--mental or actual--in protests was a ticket for admission to what would be later called progressive politics and its enabling media. Irresponsibility, coupled with an absence of standards by which to live, became the bywords of this new movement to take over the reins of the nation. And all this occurred while the more responsible, regular achievers decided to ignore government for the private sector, where excitement and private goals were more important--sort of like it mostly was for the previous 200 years in America The resulting political and media vacuum created by those who thought government would continue pretty much as before, was filled with the Berkeley Whiners and their friends.

It must be noted there were many, many very responsible young adults back then. Too many of them died for their (our) country in Vietnam, but many more lived to appreciate and to help expand upon the creativity and productivity a relatively free, capitalistic nation had achieved in and around the 70s: the moon landing, the 747, the personal computer, the integrated circuit, the Twin Towers, the Lockheed Black Bird, the movie “Patton,” and an endless list of advances and achievements.

Forty years have passed since the birth of all those mostly private, capital intensive achievements and the concurrent Whining Syndrome. Both types of once-young, contrasting participants are now entering the ultimate stage of their lives. You know, the great hand-off to the younger generations of what represents their life-time achievements, their legacy, their gifts to humanity. The children of those children are the ones taking charge of the nation, to begin the cycle once again. But the playing field is very different from before.

Now, space is a Chinese and Russsian frontier ...

Lots of fantastic industrial and technological achievements superficially pad our belief that our nation is still capitalistic and free. But the government of this nation, the basic structure which its productive citizens financially support and rely upon for refereeing the economic, political, and cultural game that is capitalism, is crumbling before us. What was once the most respected currency the world has ever known has lost the confidence of its holders, including U.S. citizens. Economic achievement itself is considered a target for punishment and derision in the form of endless taxes, regulations and the perpetual bureaucracies to sustain them. Not-for-profit is considered the pinnacle of economic philosophy, as if profit (an absence of loss) is sinister and inhumane. Whining (or stupidity, your choice) leads to this state of mind.

The government itself--Congress and the President-- has decided it alone knows how to order the production and planning necessary for its citizens. Having won the cold war against a communist/socialist USSR that failed because of its central planning, America, with its Whining Syndrome leaders, are adopting the old USSR’s blueprints of failure. Sadly, a growing number of our uneducated, uninformed citizens are welcoming an all-seeing government to make the choices on their behalf. All because the Berkeley protestors of the 70s took the initiative and became the government while the rest of the nation sought privacy and success, thinking that a democratic republic was on automatic pilot. The contemptible power of the Whining Syndrome displaced the grace of the Constitution.

What to do? When you have whining, sniveling children, you must take direct action in the form of isolation or denying them everything (lap spanking to be done privately). You stop your political isolation and pay attention to movements like the Tea Party. It’s called the election of 2012. And for that election, it’s Anyone but Whiners.

Original text © 2011 Art Hyland