A Nation of Whiners?

Are Americans becoming a bunch of “whiners,” as one of John McCain’s top advisers suggested–an advisor whom McCain himself promptly denounced for saying it?

There’s no question that most of our media engages in whining. They paint a picture of how desperately bad everything is and will become. They latch onto negatives and rarely, if ever, mention anything positive. In some cases they do it with a political agenda, such as electing their ultra-liberal darling Barack Obama, who seeks to cash in on the negativity. But I think most of the motive is simply to sell negativity, because negativity sells.

I don’t know if most Americans are whiners, but I have this sense that about half of us are. At least half of our nation has come to expect the government to solve all of our problems–economic and otherwise. (Meaning: other people to solve our problems). When that doesn’t happen, disgust with politicians rises. Both our President and Congress register the lowest approval ratings in the history of polling. According to these polls, the disgust isn’t because government is doing too much; it’s because government isn’t “doing enough” –whatever that means.

Whining isn’t really a response to negativity. It’s more a manifestation of expecting someone to do something for you that he or she simply isn’t able to do. Children whine because mommy or daddy won’t do what they want. Adults whine because Big Government won’t take all our problems away. Yet the facts remain: Government cannot lower oil prices. Government cannot make stocks go up or real estate values rise. Government cannot make medical care “free” without destruction of medical practice as we know it.

All government can do is get out of the way–something it never does once it’s involved in something, at least at no time yet in human history.

If there’s a rational basis for “whining” it’s the fact that government won’t get out of the way. But in a society where at least half–and maybe more–of the people don’t want to take care of themselves, it’s not clear what the next step should be.