“Your children need you to be their parents—that means acting like adults.” I’ve been saying this with increasing frequency to the parents of children in my practice, as it appears that nearly all the worsening mental illness in the pediatric population over the past three years has been directly caused by the failings of adults. Their failings have been on full display recently in society at large, as one avoidable disaster after another comes crashing through our communities, from the East Palestine train derailment and toxic spill to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. It leads regular Americans to conclude that no one is in charge. And that is an ominous view for a nation to hold toward its leaders.

From Pete Buttigieg to Karine Jean-Pierre, the utterly incompetent have failed up and are now bringing dishonor to their positions. The worst mayor in LA history, Eric Garcetti, has been approved in a bipartisan vote to become the US ambassador to India. Julie Sue, the California Labor Secretary who gave away between $30 and $40 billion in taxpayer money to prison inmates and Russian crime syndicates has been promoted to the number two position at the US Department of Labor. The worse one’s performance in government, the more rapid the ascension.

LA Metro, a public transportation system that no one rides now other than the homeless and criminals, has removed essentially all policing from its lines. Last week, hundreds of green-shirted “ambassadors” with iPads rather than firearms were let loose to restore safety and civility to a clearly failed entity. In the first two months of this year, more people died on LA Metro than in all of 2022. Most of the deaths were from drug overdoses. “LA Metro—Where the Addict Goes to Die” should be the new motto. Everyone in Los Angeles is now waiting for the first death of an ambassador. How many will die before the LA City Council votes to end this disaster in the making?

In San Francisco a city advisory committee has voted to recommend that every black San Franciscan who “identifies as black” receive a $5 million payout for slavery reparations. Not only that, but each black resident will also receive a home, loan indebtedness, free college education, abatement of all taxes on business earnings, and $97,000 per year for 250 years. This scheme will cost each non-black resident over $600,000. California governor Gavin Newsom would like to expand this program to all of California, recommending a $360,000 per person reparations payment totaling $640 billion for 1.5 million eligible black Californians. San Francisco currently holds a budget deficit approaching $1 billion, while that of the state of California is in the multiple billions of dollars. Does this proposal sound like that of a responsible adult?

The Stanford Law School Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach encouraged student protesters to shout down a talk by invited speaker and federal judge Kyle Duncan. Steinbach applauded the students who jeered at the judge and yelled obscenities, explaining to him that the emotional “pain” he has caused students through his conservative rulings has deprived him of the right to freedom of speech. This is a law school, one of the most prestigious and competitive in the United States. Is Stanford Law School setting a good example for America’s best soon-to-be attorneys?

In two years, the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) will be seen as the harbinger of the nation’s economic collapse. A group of minority women with no competency in banking pursued a woke agenda of transgender, environmental, and racial equity that led to the second largest bank insolvency in US history. These women sold millions of dollars in SVB stock in the months leading to the collapse and paid themselves massive bonuses as the bank was being taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) once it became insolvent. Over 90% of SVB account holders were ineligible for full coverage of their losses by the FDIC, as their deposits exceeded the $250,000 limit in coverage. Not to worry, though. As many of these account holders (and bank investors) are well-connected Silicon Valley residents, tech startup leaders, and political allies of the Biden administration—like Gavin Newsom, whose personal bank accounts and winery holdings were under the supervision of SVB—Biden made the executive decision to bail out all account holders and investors using taxpayer money, sending a strong signal to other mismanaged banks that there will be no price to pay for incompetency, fraud, and corruption. He also blamed Donald Trump. Soon after that announcement, Signature Bank of New York won the prize as the third largest bank to newly fail. Looks like a trend has begun.

When parents abdicate their adult responsibilities, children suffer. This was the very first public statement I made once the pandemic began, when I was invited to speak in front of the Orange County School Board in May 2020. I chastised the board and the parents for closing the schools to allay adult anxiety toward a cold virus that did not affect children. Their decision harmed the children. No one, not even Democrats, denies that now. Our leadership continues to act like derelict, negligent parents, utterly absent in accountability, maturity, thoughtfulness, and emotional containment. These pseudo-adults are setting horrible examples for public safety, finance and economics, personal responsibility, and the honoring of constitutional rights. The entire American ruling class needs clinical treatment. Unfortunately, none of these so-called leaders will ever admit to his failure. Like the parents who bring their children to my practice and say, “Fix him,” each will deny that his own actions had anything to do with the chaos lying at his feet. It’s always someone else’s fault, usually a white male conservative Christian. Or Donald Trump.

Mark McDonald, M.D.

Co-host of the Informed Dissent podcast
Psychiatrist and author of United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to a Mass Delusional Psychosis and Freedom From Fear: A 12 Step Guide to Personal and National Recovery