When I was a little kid, I thought my uncle was hysterical. He told no jokes, but he didn’t treat me like a kid, either. He was always a problem for the rest of the family. At one point, my mother told me, “If people in suits come looking for your uncle, you don’t know where he lives.” Actually, he lived down the block. My uncle always had a job but never seemed to be working.
When I was a child in the Bronx in the 1940s, whenever a plan for the future was proposed, it would be followed by the phrase
“after the war.” My parents would say, “after the war” my father would quit Ritz radio and start his own business.
And then it was over. yes, he was finally impeached. >>> No, despite his claims to the contrary, he was not exonerated.
Today, we may be facing that same crisis, a different kind of sudden death. I feel both too old, at thirty-four, and not old enough to see history repeat itself.
There was no way I could have known when I went to Germany to interview the descendants of perpetrators of the Holocaust for my film Afterward that this journey would take the form of a personal analysis. On the surface, I wanted to rid myself of my hatred for these Germans, who had done nothing wrong but whose ancestors tried to kill my people. I wanted to stop the cycle of hate
and othering before I passed it on to my own sons, to the next generation.
The folks in the images appearing with this essay hold the traumas of racism, immigration, natural disaster and genocide. I show these faces because they reflect experiences of trauma so many of us Americans contain, directly or intergenerationally. I point to these images also to reflect on the ongoing fact that Donald Trump and his supporters’ aggressive words, policies and actions
against these already vulnerable people — against what is vulnerable in us all — has been traumatizing or re traumatizing for far too many.
Sheldon Bach is a Training and Supervising Analyst and on faculty at IPTAR, He has written five books on psychoanalysis, most recently “Chimeras and Other Writings: Selected Papers of Sheldon Bach” (IP Books, 2016).