By Mark Rhoads
I'm not sure how a poll could measure maturity, but only based on observation and anecdotes from my fellow senior citizens, I am willing to defend the general idea that American civic discussions are far less mature and civil in the age of the Internet than they were 50 years ago.
Liberals were the first to fully embrace narcissism as a "virtue" but sadly now people who claim to be "conservatives" are catching up fast. When I was a child, people were thought of as mature if they cultivated patience to deny instant gratification for longer-range goals.
Parents taught us, with limited success, to forego current spending in order to save money for the future. They taught us that part of showing respect for other people was accepting that others could have reasonable differences of opinion from our own but still have good motives.
In other words we did not attack the motives of those who disagreed only because they disagreed.
But American culture has become a more childish and selfish culture in recent years as the entertainment and political arenas tend more and more to celebrate instant celebrity and instant gratification.
The virtue of patience is too often mocked. Our culture mistakes access to a large database of knowledge with true wisdom that comes from fear of the Lord and obedience to His teaching.
The virtue of personal humility is also mocked in favor of a celebration of fame for its own sake. Our youngest generation too often defines success in life only in terms of fame and wealth rather than in terms of goodness, kindness, and sharing with others.
I miss the old America I once knew where there were terrific adult role models and I still hope to see them return some day.