America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 20, 2017

Echoes of déjà vu and familiarity have been bouncing around in my head for almost two years now. Today, I happened across a brochure from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, titled ODD, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

(https://www.aacap.org/App_Themes/AACAP/docs/resource_centers/odd/odd_resource_center_odd_guide.pdf)

The brochure states that the most common behaviors associated with ODD are defiance, spitefulness, negativity, hostility, and verbal aggression. I knew I’d seen those things before, along with lack of respect for others, insensitivity to people’s feelings, and a less than casual relationship with the truth. It’s not that my memory was failing; it’s been thirty years since I had adolescents living under my roof.

From the moment Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, twenty-one months ago, the image that most often popped into my mind after watching one of his rants was that of a petulant five-year-old throwing a tantrum, superimposed…

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