Sometimes something hits you, something you might normally dismiss as simply silly, and you realize it is not parody, not farce, but reality – and then it is just depressing. Consider:
I was surprised to learn on Sunday morning that I do not exist.
That is non-sensical on its face – a non-existent person could not write. It is written in response to the Trump administration proposal to roll back some Obama-era regs regarding transgenderism. Some took it farther, “to deny the humanity of transgender Americans,” (emphasis added) and at that point I came near to weeping.
That people thought their humanity and existence was a matter of government definition should be a cause for tears.
Then there is the fact that about 25% of college students suffered from a form of PTSD due to the election of Donald Trump. Here are the words from the story:
Around the time of Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, researchers studied students from Arizona State University and discovered that a quarter of them suffered from stress “on par with that of school shooting witnesses” after seven months’ time.
Election results create an emotional response on a par with physical violence! The lack of perspective in that is stunning, historical perspective of course, but even personal perspective – people that suffered no actual harm, nor witnessed others experience actual harm, reacted as if they did. Again, people have placed too much of a personal stake in government. And again, I wanted to weep for these people.
The transgender community is small enough, and its members already deeply embroiled in a difficult emotional and psychological stew, that it is easy to dismiss their concerns as the silly rantings a few troubled souls. But 25% of university students – young men and women that should be steeped in the great writings of religion and philosophy – that represents a genuine existential crisis and a huge national problem.
Historically, our nation in its founding and in the civil rights movement was about people of great character and dignity asserting their existing validity and worth and forcing government out of the way. This is about people asking government to provide them with validity and worth. It truly is silly to expect government to do that, but the real crisis lies in the fact that they need it. Our culture has become so…misguided?…thin?…lost?… that people are left with nowhere to turn but government for the validity and meaning that they seek.
The huge national problem I mentioned earlier is simply that since we live in a representative democracy, it is going to try and give these people what they want. But it cannot – such existential concerns are simply beyond its capabilities. But in the trying our representative democracy just might destroy itself.
But the existential crisis is actual more pressing. The task that confronts us is far more than simply reorganizing and reorienting government. We have to rebuild our culture into something that can supply these people with the validity and meaning they so deeply desire. If we take away the wrong headed attempts at providing validity and meaning government has provided and the culture does not step up to fill the gap so created people will turn back to government or to places even worse.
There is a chicken-and-egg issue here as so many people simply refuse to even consider the more traditional sources of validity and meaning. But sometimes, when they have no choice, when there is no other option, they might make a halting foray. Will we be ready?
Addendum, on a lighter note: China wants to build a “fake moon.” Did no one see “Die Another Day?” (Or “Diamonds are Forever” come to think of it.) This is a bad idea. – I am sure involving maniacal leaders that have undergone massive plastic surgery.