In A Country That Has Lost Its Mind

Eleven dead and counting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

When I was in university, we studied WW II like it was a fascinating, albeit horrific, human oddity we could observe in a curiosity cabinet. This past week, though, something shifted for me. I saw the writing on the wall. Something became clear as if I was finally accepting what I haven’t wanted to think possible.

With a House and Senate full of Republicans willing to stay quiet, willing to “look the other way”, the reality of a pro-Nationalist, anti-”other-ing”, mass mentality is here. We are in a country that has lost its mind.

These are useless solutions spoken by a man whose core is so fragile, so insecure, so empty, that making it through a day feels like a matter of life and death. In Trump’s world, “self-esteem” so much as depends on violence.

I have been thinking of Hannah Arendt this week. A brilliant, albeit controversial, social theorist who wrote in the 50s and 60s about the “banality of evil” (how we become the frog in the pot that suddenly finds itself in cooking in boiling water). Arendt also, boldly and controversially, asked questions about what the Jews could have done to help themselves during the war. Arendt’s words have been widely seen to lack compassion and disregard important context, but there is something in the subject matter she writes that points to a dark, complex question at the heart of traumatic experience and a self that can act. There is a chilling story about a death camp the Germans occupied in France during the war. The Germans were driven out and the doors to the camp were opened. Many Jews — in shock, disbelief, perhaps? that they were there to be killed — did not leave. The Germans advanced again on the French and gained back control of the camp. The Jews who stayed died.

Writer/student of the truth. Lives at the intersection of philosophy, the gender (r)evolution, politics, psychology and art of parenting.

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