We are quite confident, in our assumption that the thoughtful reader has already taken note of the alteration, of late, in the Nation’s general persona and the latter’s, discernable, impact on societal interactive behavior. We presume that we are not singular, in our feeling an increasing chill of growing impersonality and alienation, resulting in a measure of diffidence, or cautious suspicion, as to a possible presence of undeclared, motives and ultimate purpose. The foregoing statements are not the product of some negatively, skewed perception; rather, they are the objective result of our observation and thoughtful consideration. We affirmatively, plead, “Innocent” to any conceivable charge, of maintaining, either, Pollyannaish expectations, or alternatively, nostalgic inclinations.
Notwithstanding such denials, we would earnestly inquire as to, why, and when, did the tradition of neighborly, bonhomie, cease, among fellow American citizens. What happened to the casual, chats at supermarkets, barbershops and beauty parlors. What, in truth, was the impetus for the onset for many Americans’ evident feelings of underlying insecurity, and felt absence of personal agency
What was the causation for the disappearance of the familiar and friendly, neighborhood, cop? What occurred, to lower the avowed respect for parents and teachers? What caused the widespread distrust and animosity regarding government and politicians? Why are there such an apparent, divisiveness and animosity in the extant population? Why does atavistic racial, religious and ethnic, bias, still rear its ugly head? Why has it become a mandatory prerequisite, for many citizens to carry a gun, (an item intended exclusively, to kill or maim) in order for them to feel secure? Further, why do so many shortsighted citizens ignore the vulnerable status of the environment and, principally, the existential danger of global warming to our planet, and its entire inventory of flora and fauna, inclusive of humanity?
Why and when, did the American citizen’s trust and reliance for current news, upon reputable, newspapers and other media change? When and why, did the traditional, assumptions about familial relations, inappropriately, decline, to those of marginal disrespect, and at times, to complete irresponsibility? Why does the ugly serpent of angry and resentful opposition, to empathic, assistance to the needy citizen and to the traumatized refugee, still rear itself? When did the natural, human desire for sexual fulfillment, become an abusive perversion? Why do the institutions of religion, continue to piously, arrogate to themselves, the improper franchise to influence civic government?
We are able, candidly, and unhappily, to continue to add, additional toxic phenomena, to this inventory of negative developments, but wished to reserve space, for thoughtful, discussion. Accordingly, as promised, we will offer, our attribution of fundamental cause, for the reader’s consideration.
However, prior to such revelation of our, proposed, fundamental,( but, not simplistic or “reductionist”), declaration of cause, for the above, plethora of negative developments, we would like to make the clarifying reservation and disclaimer, that we reject “reductionism,” as well as “reductionists”, who, by reason of inadequate education and lack of mature perception, are inclined to find, facile, and erroneous, over-simplified and broad-based causation, for complex, dynamic phenomena, and ignorantly, offer worthless solutions, grounded upon such personal limitations.
It would appear, that each presenting, distinct issue, has its own, relevantly, nuanced dynamics and solution. There are, to be sure, problems, which can be resolved, simply, for example, purchasing larger sized shoes to solve the problem of tight- fitting ones. By bright contrast, the causative factors, relevant to the problem of criminal behavior, has a great many facets, including, poverty, race, economics, mental and physical heath, parental abuse, the influence of the residential neighborhood, and the like. Thus, initiating a rational search for solutions, unquestionably, involves the determination of the relevant causative factors as multi-faceted or, otherwise, attributable to a unified, causative, factor.
Having (hopefully), dispelled the possible charge of reductionism, we can comfortably, relate our observational, determination of the etiology of the all-pervasive change, to the Nation’s present coarsening, or decline in intimate, interpersonal relationships; and the resultant loneliness, insecurity and sense of vulnerability which are fundamental, to such change. Our simplistic-sounding, analysis is derived from multiple, and diverse, sources, the articulation and understanding of which, may, suggest a socially effective, “vaccine,” for this pathological, but, hopefully, curable, National pandemic.
We would attribute, the referenced, enormous sea change to a felt weakening, in the individual citizen’s own, personally developed and supportably, referable, self-image, and the consequential, absence of confidence, in perception and independent judgment; leading to a vulnerability to the influence of third persons, perceived as having, or convincingly maintaining, competence and superior judgment. Thus, proffered false and tactically construed, alternative facts, or skewed, reality, have the potential to appear, erroneously, valid.
The ignorant, incapable and autocratically, undemocratic, Donald J. Trump, was successful as a demagogue, preaching convenient falsity and delusional reality. His success was inarguably, due to this failure and inability, on the part of his cultish supporters, to develop a personal mature and confident self-image, taxed with providing the requisite agency to confidently, think for themselves. This failing was undoubtedly, responsible for their vulnerability to the misleadingly successful tactics, which enabled Trump’s Presidential victory, and continued influence, as well as the viability of a plethora of bizarre conspiratorial conceits.
While the contextual social change in the Nation, in our judgment, is attributable to a single cause, the etiology of such causation (the loss of individual and confidence from a sustainable, self-image) has, to our mind, four empirical possibilities:
- In many of our past writings, we have stressed the life-enhancing, practice of engaging in desired activities, totally unrelated the nature of one’s employment. This practice of solo engagement in an elective, pleasant activity, promotes initiative, self- reliance and, especially in the case of reading good literature, personal advancement and mature perception. The decline in the reading of good books, and the personal, engagement in self-sustaining activities and matters of individual interest, has taken its toll on self-esteem and personal feelings of agency.
- The pandemic, significantly, catalyzed a preexisting, divisive atmosphere, the latter, resulting from hotly contested, issues such as guns and abortion. The pandemic, made obligatory, the refraining from personal contact and the universal and dystopic, requirement to wear protective masks. This inarguably interfered with natural personal contact, and its concomitant, self-affirming, element of identity and recognition. The latter, regrettably, added to feelings of lonely autonomy and the related, personal problems brought about thereby; as well as the factual
disconcerting, dystopic reality of isolation, social detachment and self-conscious, vulnerability.
- The willing substitution of natural interaction, for the more facile and technically, efficient, app “smartphone” may well have been the most relevant and cogent reason for the subject decline of the Nation. By reason of its dynamics, this universal medium offers, merely, a cold and impersonal, mechanically, recorded message, resulting in a vital loss of comforting and sustaining, societal interaction. The solo transmission of digital symbols, onto the interlocutor’s small, handheld, lighted screen, for the notice at some unpredictable time, makes response untimely and eliminates expressive intention, and the comfort of a familiar voice. The result makes, humanistic and emotionally, vital interaction, impossible; and increases the sense of loneliness, and injuriously, decreasing the assurance of individualized persona and personal assurance of acceptability and worth.
- The “surprise” and ultimately, tragic, election of Donald Trump, effectively served as an active catalyst for the described, negative, metamorphosis of the Nation, as stated, from one, denoted as a Nation with “Bonhomie,” generally between citizens, to one plagued by insecurity, distrust and felt vulnerability. Had it been realized, that the character and inclinations of so many of our citizens were, as here candidly, described, we have had little doubt that the election of this demagogic, seller of the proverbial, “snake oil,” this ignorant, immoral and incapable, bigot, was, indeed, a “surprise.”
The bad reputation and despicably brash, pseudo-confident persona of Donald was an effective catalyst for the themed, downturn of the Nation’s, historically traditional, proud and independent thinking American citizen, to one, (with his tactical assistance) characterized with a feeling of dependent vulnerability, and confusion as to its historical, democratically oriented, character and aspirations. A great many, rudderless and insecure Americans, found needed, solace in his autocratic pretentions and chose to overlook his criminal and un-American, behaviors. Facts were substituted for “alternate reality, newspapers were trashed, White Christian militias approved, incapability overrode talent, if it favored Trump, The Constitution and the Law, took second place to the wish of the autocratic-egotist, even SCOTUS was aided in its decline to its present, shameful status as a partisan club, and so much more, to the perverse satisfaction of the Nation’s, discontented, ill-informed, vulnerable underbelly; all to the sway of the arbitrary, baton of the orange producer and director of this low class, theatrical farce.
The preventative, prophylactic, for the currently, repugnant and distasteful, character of the Nation, is easy, enough, at least to state: (a) the bolstering up of the diffident and insecure, to independent citizens, by their pursuit of an ego-enforcing, elective, solitary accomplishments, especially the reading of good books, (b) the full compliance with valid, medical recommendations, concerning Covid, (c) less dependence on cell phones, for interactive personal conversation, and, increase in the performance of normal, satisfying conversation, in person or by telephone, and, (d) voting in accord with one’s own, determined, rational interest.
Good people may be best- advised, to live in hope.