The contradictions and challenges of being American are raging. In an era of unstable pronouns, it may be generous to use the pronoun “we” – to even assert that there is a “we,” that “we” are still one nation. As has been much remarked, we seem to inhabit different realities, with different facts or needs for facts. (Jay Rosen, professor and media critic calls it “retreat from empiricism: http://pressthink.org). And of course, we are swamped by vastly divergent waves of emotion – half the nation mourns while the other half feels vindicated, as if the avenging angel has swept in. Call it a schizophrenic breakdown, at best.
Visceral anger, a hatred has been stirred. It’s almost a demonic enterprise. For Donald Trump’s promises are impossibly, even cruelly out of reach. The question that plagues me is: Where will the unleashed hatred go? What will happen to the resentment, pushed to an irrational pitch? How do you hate an automation, a robot that took your job, how do you focus on what you can’t see? When A hates B and B hates A, but that doesn’t get them anywhere, they can both agree to hate C. It’s called Scapegoating. Once stoked and allowed to travel at will, it’s very hard to control. Fear shouldn’t rule us. But no wonder people are scared.