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.


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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