TWITTER DEE TWITTER DUM
by William W. Harris
on a societal depression.
AND I AM NOT
There are reports that government workers are showing up depressed; they argue and fight with their families at home, and office mates at work.
HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?
He has out-McLuhaned McLuhan. The internet – social media, radio, magazines, newspapers almost all featuring new op-eds. He’s mastered, no, conquered all media 24/7.
He has blown past suspension of disbelief with alternative facts and science denial.
He is the
– he has become our ubiquitous R e a l i t y.
I went to a meeting recently where the editor of a book on his sanity – or lack thereof – was discussed. The audience had many Democratic members of Congress. Throughout the presentation one could hear the plaintive gasps
how could this
what can we do?
The answer always came back – NOTHING. We are helpless. Yes, we can vote,
but we cannot pass
the 25th amendment legislation. No, we can’t impeach at this time. We don’t have enough
Maybe there is a thin thread of hope. Our vote could matter…
IT WAS A SHOCK
to see all these leaders seemingly reduced to:
“all we can do is hope that the Resistance will last til November.”
The Resistance to Trump –
if we just hold on collectively, can we change the leadership in Congress?
had some big marches and impressive turnout results. But can this be translated to voter action in
That was it. Our only chance. Voting is possible, but
l a s t ?
Some of the members also spoke about Trump infecting their lives, their homes and families, their
some of them even confessed to binge watching TV.
Have these people become impotent?
Have they lost their own individual agency? Should they be able to do something, anything! Has each
individual lost his/her agency or have they
collectively lost their agency?
WAS THE RESISTANCE
THE beginning sign of our society regaining its agency?
DID THEIR UNREMITTING
no outlet for this anger?
A few weeks later, I went to a meeting with a number of psychoanalysts. They also talked about Trump. They confessed to binge TV watching, and expressions of impotence
— “what can we do” —
h e l p l e s s n e s s .
I remarked that it sounded like the impotence the Congress people expressed at the earlier meeting. FRUSTRATED. A n x i o u s. And these were psychoanalysts!
What is going on here?
Is the same stimulus – Trump – evoking the same frustration, impotence
from both Congress people and psychoanalysts? One common thread I think is the perceived loss of agency from the participants. What are the feelings connected to losing one’s agency?
to us when we go from living our regular lives and then almost instantaneously losing a sense of our own agency? We begin to feel a palpable impotence, frustration and sometimes, rage. Does it make us regress to our own feelings of powerlessness in infancy? Do we mourn our loss of agency? Can it be
regained? Is there any hope that our feeling of impotence can be erased by participating in the
This is a time when we need each other. We need to bind/bond and have each other’s back. Yet the ether provides a completely opposite environment – almost as if there is a centrifugal force driving us apart from one another, when we are desperately wanting or needing a centripetal force – something
that will bind us together.
We have lost
the unifying symbol
of “everything is going to be alright”
– think Walter Cronkite.*
Why/when did the current ether take over? Think the multitude of social media outlets – the plethora of TV and cable channels – radio - for each playing to its own specialized demographic for which
will pay more
and more dollars
for a set
ears, and clicks.
We have six months left in the year to endure these feelings of impotence. We have to, but we must vote, organize, and mobilize others to vote. We need to take back our country, majority, and retake the power that the majority can bring.
We must regain our individual agency if our democracy is to work.
We do have the power to vote.
We also have the power to organize others to vote. We need to exercise it, protect it, go beyond ourselves and collectively use it to exercise the agency we once enjoyed and put it to use to stop the Trump plague. ■
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William W. Harris, PhD, is chairman of Children’s Research and Education Institute.He is a child advocate who works with policy makers on efforts to increase the government’s investments in low-income young children and families.
- Email: Billywh@me.com
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