A recent study finds that “the number of traffic fatalities more than doubled following a nail-biter – but only in areas with a high concentration of winning fans.” The researchers hypothesize that alcohol and testosterone are to blame. Testosterone levels are known to increase in fans when experiencing a close win by the favored team. Testosterone is linked to aggressive behavior, and the link between alcohol and traffic accidents is well known.
I heard about this study just as I was thinking about how deep the hole is that our society is trying to dig itself out of. We entered the George W. Bush years with a government budget surplus, peace, and an unemployment rate around 4%. At the end of his administration, W. gave us a record budget deficit even higher than his Dad’s. He left us two wars with no end in sight. He left us with an unemployment rate at nearly 6% and on the verge of exploding.
My image of “W.” and especially Vice President Cheney is one of a pair of macho frat guys flexing their muscles and roaring that the U.S. is the king of the global jungle. The mention of a study that links an abundance of testosterone to fatal accidents caught my ear and reminded me of them. We seem to be suffering the hangover from an eight year binge of machismo.
Our reckless machismo did not make America stronger; it led to disaster. Such disasters are not unwound very quickly. America voted for change in 2008, but now we’re getting impatient. We would like to skip the messy parts and get back to where we started a decade ago.