I’m not a doctor, but . . .

It occurs to me that the United States is undergoing the early stages of a psychological breakdown. Its personality is disintegrating. The identity it adopted, that of the noble defender of democracy inside and outside its borders, is finally being exposed for the fraud it always was. Calling itself “united” was always wishful thinking; now the description’s irony has displaced even that small innocence. From the beginning the country’s been riven with pathological guilt over what’s now euphemistically referred to as its original sin. At the same time, it’s refused to acknowledge it any meaningful way. As a result it’s never been comfortable with itself, often fractious, reliably of at least two minds on any given issue. Struggling with its self-hatred, it attempted suicide 155 years ago. It was young then. No longer persuaded by romantic notions of the glories of the warrior ethos, it’s gotten into the habit of inflicting upon itself painful, increasingly injurious incisions. The country’s unwritten history is a steady stream of rebellions and the inevitable massacres they attract. They are the nation’s simmering subconscious, repressed memories silently affecting everything that happens now. The country is sitting, metaphorically, on the floor, staring off into space while cutting itself. It must be careful, though. As it becomes numb to the pain, it will begin to aim for more tender, more vital areas, possibly bringing about inadvertently what it once failed to accomplish deliberately.

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