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 rise of some politicians in our houses of power, and who initially seemed tone as surprised by their 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 they think was somehow greater once upon a time. And at the helm of this ship is narcissism in the extreme, a role model for self-entitlement beyond anything that we have seen before in politics.