The State of Our Country

Jacqueline J. West, Ph.D.

Any number of us here are wrestling, intensely, with upheavals in our personal and collective psyches, the rumblings and eruptions over the past many months, the startling, even shocking results of the election last week . . . and the subsequent vivid and distressing clues about how the structures of our country will be re-interpreted by the appointments of our President-elect and how his policies will transform our lives, explicitly and implicitly. My immediate reaction to the results of the election was, to express it in an acronym, WTF!! . . . which carries a good dose of anger, paired with a half-question, and which carries an invitation to reflect. Both the energy of outrage and curiosity of mind are essential to using our voices. I think the most crucial position we can each take at this point is for each of us to find ways of using our voice – in words and in action.

Over the past few years I’ve been writing – and talking-- about how I see our nation as being in the grip of what I call “Alpha Narcissistic dynamics”. During the past year, the heat of these dynamics rapidly increased. They have found their embodiment spectacularly in Trump. I want to offer some reflections about these dynamics that I hope may strengthen each of our individual and collective backbones in this time of intense stress.

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