Have we turned into a nation of wussys?
Or are we over reacting?
When the Challenger disaster happened, among the expected sadness, I was stunned to find therapists rushing to the children of the deceased teacher. The I was stunned to find therapy for students being offered afterwards in the schools for kids affected by it.
September 11 was a devastating day but I was several thousand miles away from New York City and had no one that I know involved in the disaster. I was concerned, saddened and then outraged. Normal emotions. You expect them. Now I see spots on TV telling the nation to go get help if they cannot handle the disaster, that people are there to talk to them to help them through it.
I am stunned.
When Pearl Harbor happened, the nation was shocked, saddened, stunned and horrified, then enraged and the people bucked up, girded their loins and plunged into war manufacturing with a zeal and desire for revenge never matched since nor seen before.
The Korean war was terrible, but the Nation did not run to shrinks to understand why and through Vietnam the citizens did not flee to the psychiatrists couch to better understand the ruthless killing.
Then come spots telling us how to get our children help because of 9/11 and how to ‘get them through the grieving process’ and my jaw drops in astonishment.
I was in 6th grade when Kennedy was shot. When the announcement arrived and school was closed, us kids were mostly pleased to be getting a day off. We had no real idea why the teacher was crying and why the principal was so grim. Many of us figured we should be pleased because our folks voted for the opposition and were against Kennedy as we had so often heard. We expected our folks to be pleased, and most of us were surprised and confused to find them crying. We had not grasped the concept of national unity in those early years. We were more concerned for our folks unhappiness than that the President had been shot.
We knew and loved our folks. We had never met Kennedy. Through the influence of our folks we learned that a very bad thing had happened and reacted according to their feelings.
None of us were sent to therapists, few of us, when school reopened, went around in depression because of the assassination, but we were aware of how the adults around us signified that something terrible had happened and responded to their grief. There were no counselors set up to discuss our feelings and non one that I know of went batty because of the incident.
Years later, we in higher grades were aware of Vietnam, thanks to the news media and the fact that every other TV program was either a WW2 movie made in the 50s showing our heroic men stomping the Evil Nazis, Japs or whoever was the flavor of the day, or else movies about our guys doing heroic things in the jungles of Vietnam and winning. (Back then, reality based, graphic movies and pictures were not done.) We were more aware and concerned with the draft which awaited us after stepping out of high school, because you could be guaranteed of getting a pre-induction notice within a few weeks of becoming free of 12 years of school. After the pre-induction, you would then sweat out the draft and see if your number came up and if it did, then you got to go to the hell called Military Boot Camp, mainly the Army, where you had no freedom nor say in anything, and after boot camp, you would go to Vietnam to be shot at.
THAT bothered us more than anything else.
If they wanted to consol anyone, they should have had shrinks awaiting when happy-go-lucky teens, wet behind the ears, got those damn life shattering ‘Greetings’ from Uncle Sam in the mail where he said he WANTED YOU. Then, life as you knew it was about to end.
Are we really so weak as a nation that we need shrinks to help us through a national crisis or are we being pushed into thinking we are weak by people who think they are doing good by suggesting we get psychiatric help after such a disaster?
Or, have we had it so damn good since Vietnam, Korea and WW2 that we actually do crumble under pressure and need shrinks? Vietnam was nasty. It took the glory out of war, confused the hell out of people, wrecked our confidence in our government, and left us with shattered ex-soldiers behaving in strange ways, something one never heard of in past wars except in rare incidents.
Back then, almost every family had a father, mother or brother which had served in a war or in the military. My own father served in WW2, my Mother talked about rationing and war industries, my aunts and uncles worked in war businesses, one uncle had served, one aunt had served and my brother had enlisted during Vietnam to avoid the draft. The TV of the 50s and 60s was full of war movies and war kits were popular toys sold in toy stores.
Every kid had toy guns and army soldiers, toy fighter jets and toy battleships.
Is it that we have spawned a generation in the last 30 years that, since they have not gone to war, never had to be a civilian under war footing, grew up learning to sue the pants off of anyone who even brushed against them, in an era where anyone wanting a gun is possibly bad, and Cowboys and Indian games are politically incorrect and even the descendants of slaves are suing for compensation, that we have lost the intestinal fortitude which got us through the last two major wars?
I mean, today in many cases, distressed animals get more expensive care than distressed humans, smoking cars are offensive, conspicuous consumption is normal, everyone has more civil rights than they need, kids can press charges over school yard fights and then the shrinks have to see the combatants, while ecologists run around keeping you from using land you already own because a single rare mouse nests on your property and smokers are Evil People to be ridiculed while drug users are Cool.
Parents spanking kids go to jail, lawyers give kids more rights than adults, we’ve let teacher authority in schools become third rate, and we pass kids who should have been held back several grades because of statistics and buy cars that cost more than a two bedroom house did in 1956.
Are we becoming a nation of wussies? If so, do we need to be blooded to get tough or stop folks from telling us we need shrinks every time something upsets us?