It seems that everyone I meet these days in this big beautiful bubble of the Bay Area are in agreement that we are moving into challenging and ominous times. Those of us that have been around for more than 5 decades are perhaps especially worried that the progressive social evolution that we have witnessed for most our lives is now under assault from an unexpected rise of forces that have been percolating for awhile. Some of these forces are understandably driven by emotions of fear and anger, but that is only part of the mix. There are also the more deliberate and focused attitudes of some who wish to power their agenda with an angry and vengeful collective. Their own mental orientation reveals a proclivity for the separation and compartmentalization of people and things, which is often associated with an attitude that all things material are up for grabs. Of course, some individuals are more inclined to grab, grasp, and accumulate material things than others, and some have become quite successful at it.
As a people and as a culture we Americans remain the wealthiest society on the planet (for the time being). We are still collectively caught up in the notions of “the American Dream” and “American Exceptionalism”. We are often preoccupied by the creeds of “more is always better”, and “size really matters”. And then there is the notion of “survival of the fittest”, borrowed from Darwin’s vision of evolution, and often contorted in order to justify the unfettered (unregulated) accumulation of wealth and power. This brings us to our modern politics and the current influx of new leaders into our houses of power, and who initially seemed tone as surprised by the election results as the rest of us. But they have taken on their coronation with great bravado and hubris after realizing the opportunity that this moment has given them, and have aggressively assumed a questionable mandate to reshape America as they see fit. They are driven by long held desires to shatter the social progress of the previous half century, and a fantasy of return to an imagined America that was somehow greater once upon a time. And at the helm of this ship is a narcissism in the extreme, a role model for self entitlement beyond anything that we have seen before.
The primary impulse for him and his minions seems to be the removal of obstacles that they feel are denying them certain freedoms and liberties, and on the surface this seems justifiable. But then there are the obvious casualties in their march to having things their way, including the ones that most of us already know about: civil rights, women’s rights, science, truth, and a planet that we have been trying to keep sustainable for past and future generations. Our new leaders seem to want to bring us back to a homocentric fundamentalism that puts “real Americans” at the center of the universe, and to the justification that they have the “natural rights” to exploit, control, and consume the world we all must share. An updated version of Manifest Destiny anyone? We have seen this movie before, and we know it has multiple scenes of intolerance, violence, racism, sexism, and the abuses and extinctions of other life forms.
These leaders cannot make this movie on their own. They need to persuade a large minority of the people to get this production rolling, and now they need to maintain that support one way or the other. One shocking revelation of our recent election is that these foxes found a new way into the henhouse. They don’t just appeal to peoples desires and appetites as most politicians do, they have found a way to ride the waves of anger and resentment that has been churning through parts of America for years now. Their forte is to identify and demonize the differences that exist between people, at least according to their own mindset… their inner compartmentalization of America.
And now, as of mid April 2017, the narcissist in chief in the white house had awakened to the the toys of war that he can manipulate. The ultimate distractions in the wake of his mistakes, especially in the possible manipulation of the election that put him in power…