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America is Tiger Woods

Yesterday #whythisnationisindecline trended on Twitter.  Can you say…problems?

My friend, ever the diligent analyst that he is, looked at the neverending stream of tweets and decided that they fit mainly into the following categories:

  1. Apathy
  2. Materialism / Consumerism
  3. History repeating itself

History is an interesting one because it is essentially saying that the decline is inevitable, it’s just a matter of when and how.  Personally, I don’t like to think that way, as it has a tinge of fate involved.  And while I do believe that there is something that guides us throughout our lives, I also don’t believe that we are powerless to affect our circumstances.  So my personal feeling is that the problems we face boil down to one main source: Hubris…

Hubris is what happens when you become so powerful that you think that you are untouchable.  To put it another way, it’s like imagining that America is the Tiger Woods of countries.  Let’s see…

  • You were a young prodigy, tremendously skilled and driven to succeed
  • You crafted your image in a certain way to positively appeal to as many people as possible
  • You then exported that image around the world
  • You performed exceedingly well at such a young age
  • You made a ridiculous sum of money
  • You intimidated your competitors to bow down at your altar before the round even started
  • People started gassing your head and calling you the best that ever did it
  • And you started to believe it

But at the same time…

  • You were singularly focused on career and money and neglected your family
  • Your knee, your foundation, blew out and you were hobbled and your abilities somewhat diminished
  • You had some serious issues bubbling underneath that you never wanted to deal with
  • You had apologists that you hung around that never made you deal with them
  • You blew wads of money on “stuff” you didn’t need
  • You did some really effed up things to people (women really) just because you could
  • You tried to buy off people who were about to expose your flaws
  • And you thought you could get away with it all…because you were Tiger Woods

And behold, one day, it doesn’t work to plan.  Something unexpected happens and you are standing there stripped down and everyone is able to see many of the issues you were always trying to hide.  Except you try to deny it at first and continue like nothing happened.  Whistling along…nothing to see here.  But only you and your most ardent supporters are unable to see that it’s time to face the reality.  A reality that says that you are talented, but arrogance may be your downfall if you don’t change course soon.  But you don’t really know what to do.  Lost.  Never having faced such a circumstance. The person that supported you for years, but which you deceived comes after you with a golf club making you run for safety (hello Occupy).  And those competitors that you intimidated start to smell weakness and decide it is time for some get back (hello Black and Brown peoples of the world).  And they do it with a smile on their face…

Tiger hasn’t recovered his past dominance…in golf at least.  He very well may never do that.  But at least he supposedly took the time out to examine his flaws and try to address them.  We…America…hasn’t even done that. Yet.

What exactly are we waiting for?



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