"Don't you think the country is running a little hot, right now?" This was a question asked of me by my sister the other night. My reply was this: "Yes, I absolutely believe the country is running a little hot, right now." And we're all in dire need of a cooling-off period. I'd like it to start yesterday.


In case you are not familiar with the phrase "running a little hot," let me get you up to speed. About 2 years ago, give or take, comedian Dennis Miller used this phrase during an interview on Bill O'Reilly's FOXNews program, "The Factor." He was referring to an escalating David Letterman/Sarah Palin feud, an ongoing Leon Panetta/Dick Cheney feud, and riots surrounding the L.A. Lakers winning the NBA Championship. Miller was issuing a plea to the nation to just chill out. That was TWO years ago. I guess we're still waiting.



Check the headlines in the last few weeks. Or, maybe you don't want to. Couldn't blame you. For weeks, we've cringed at the awful news emanating from Penn State University regarding a child sex abuse scandal. And, now it's happening again, just up the road at Syracuse University. A long-time associate head coach of the men's basketball team has now been fired because of repellant behavior involving minors. How many more of these kinds of stories are we going to hear from the universities in this country? Is this an epidemic? Seriously, it just makes you want to hesitate before you turn on a 24 hour news channel or open a news website. What are we going to learn next?


But those aren't the only reasons it feels like we're imploding. Since when did CHRISTMAS SHOPPING(!!!!) turn into the 1992 Los Angeles riots? Are you kidding me?


A  woman uses pepper spray to get to a discounted Xbox; shots are fired at a North Carolina mall; there was a brawl at a Rome, New York Walmart. And those are just three examples. Come on, when did shopping for someone's gift become a do-or-die proposition? And, of course, there are the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests which have escalated to violence. Luckily, that's starting to calm down. But all of this is still indicative of a much more unstable atmosphere than I can ever remember; I was too young to get a real  feel for the temperature of the nation during the late 60s and early 70s when the anti-war protests were so prevalent. I realize that the economy is circling the bowl. But I also believe it will rebound. Regardless, do we, as a country, have to forgo civility until that time? Does a rough stretch automatically mean we get to act like animals? And why would we want to?