The United States of America is an adolescent nation. America is in the final phase of the transitional period between childhood and adult maturity. The term "adolescence" comes from the Latin "adolescere" - to grow up. Physical development is only the most obvious of early adolescence in humans and nations. 239 years may seem old for adolescence but England is a still spry 1085 and Germany roughly 800 years older than that.
Adolescent America is developing the cognitive skills enabling her to coordinate the ideas that will dictate her adult future. Obviously; intelligence, experience, ego and focus play into the solidifying of this mature foundation. Mistakes, ranging from awkward clumsiness to bull headed hubris, are made. Concepts entertained for the best of intentions can and will collide with the realities of inexperience and the adult and infant nations we socialize with.
America is in the tattoo and piercing stage of its "teenager-ism." Binging and purging also seems to be evident. An over interest in popular culture and imbuing meaning into the innocuous and inane also go with the territory. Some recreational drugs, sexuality and "cutting" are experimented with. The transition keeps moving forward. Adulthood and maturity emerge with all the self-sufficient and emotional characteristics that go with it. Eventually, the cognitive and the physical result in a complete Grown Up and the responsibilities come with the promotion.
Calm down, America. All our adolescent mistakes and triumphs were just preparing us for the long phase of adulthood. America does not commit suicide. And if we did, it would be far more dramatic than stepping off a fiscal cliff.