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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fourth Turning

Today, being President's Day, finds me in a reflective mood and thinking about the Presidents who have held office during my lifetime.  In order they have been:  Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama.  These leaders each come to office with certain expectations and often they have left under some scandalous cloud or under utter disappointment and failure. 

Perhaps the reason for the poor results among the Presidents of my lifetime has something to do with the time they occupy their office.  In the late 90's I read a book called the Fourth Turning written by two historians, Strauss and Howe.  Their thesis was that the history of America has always followed a four part pattern and that the generations living during these times play specific roles which help see the country through a particular time.  The Presidents during my life occupy office during a breakdown in society, or what Strauss and Howe call an unraveling. 

This book was written in the mid to late 90's and I enjoyed it very much.  Remember in the mid to late 90's, our economy was doing well and who would ever envsion the times we are experiencing today.  I do remember that the authors mentioned that during a third turning an unraveling would occur in the country and by the fourth turning all the s**t would hit the fan.  The generations identified by Strauss and Howe include:  The dwindling members of the GI generation, the hereoes of the last fourth turning, the elder memebers of the Silent generation, the Baby Boom generation, The 13th generation (which is my generation) and the Millenial generation.  Each one of these generations has an important role to play during an unraveling and during a Fourth Turning. 

This book was written before 9-11, Bernie Madoff, The Housing Bubble and Bust, The Banking Crisis, The Mortgage Mess, The Iraq/Afghanistan War, The States Pension/Budget crisis and so on. 

With these events and recent events happening in the volitale Middle East, is there any doubt that we are getting close to the Fourth Turning.  Unfortunately, I am not confident that we have a leader in our White House who can rally us during such a moment.

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