Chris Hedges: Trauma in the USA

American society spawns trauma and this trauma expresses itself in a variety of self-destructive pathologies, including the erosion of democracy and rise of neo-fascism.

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By Chris Hedges
Original to ScheerPost

Corporate capitalism, defined by the cult of the self and the ruthless exploitation of the natural world and all forms of life for profit, thrives on the fostering of chronic psychological and physical disorders. The diseases and pathologies of despair — alienation, high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression, morbid obesity, mass shootings (now almost two per day on average), domestic and sexual violence, drug overdoses (over 100,000 per year) and suicide (49,000 deaths in 2022) — are the consequences of a deeply traumatized society.

The core traits of psychopaths — superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance, a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception, manipulation and the inability to feel remorse or guilt — are celebrated. The virtues of empathy, compassion and self-sacrifice, are belittled, neglected and crushed. The professions that sustain community, such as teaching, manual labor, the arts, journalism and nursing, are underpaid and overworked. The professions that exploit, such as those in high finance, Big Pharma, Big Oil and information technology, are lavished with prestige, money and power.

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane,” Eric Fromm writes in The Sane Society.

The classic works on trauma by Dr. Bessel van der KolkDr. Gabor Maté and Dr. Judith Herman state bluntly that what is accepted as normal behavior in a corporate society is at war with basic human needs and our psychological and physical health. Huge segments of the American public, especially the tens of millions of people who have been discarded and marginalized, endure chronic trauma.

Protesters in Minneapolis after the police killing of George Floyd, May 26, 2020. (Lorie Shaull, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America describes the life of the working poor as one long “emergency.”  This trauma is as destructive to us personally as it is socially and politically. It leaves us in a state of dysphoria where confusion, agitation, emptiness and loneliness define our lives. Whole segments of American society, especially the poor, have been rendered superfluous and invisible. As Dr. van der Kolk writes, “trauma is when we are not seen and known.”

“Our culture teaches us to focus on our personal uniqueness, but at a deeper level we barely exist as individual organisms,” Dr. van der Kolk notes.

Trauma numbs our capacity to feel. It fractures our self. It disconnects us from our bodies. It keeps us in a state of hyperarousal. It makes us confuse our desires, often artificially implanted by the consumer society, with our needs. Traumatized people view the world around them as hostile and dangerous. They lack a positive image of themselves and lose the capacity to trust. Many replace intimacy and love with sexual sadism, which is how we became a pornified culture. Trauma creates what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton calls a “counterfeit” world defined by phantom enemies, lies and dark conspiracies. It negates a sense of purpose and a life of meaning.

Fast food workers in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 14, 2016, joined a nationwide walk out. (Fibonacci Blue, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Trauma, Dr. Herman writes, “impels people both to withdraw from close relationships and to seek them desperately.” It induces feelings of shame, guilt and inferiority, she writes, “as well as the need to avoid reminders of the trauma that occurs in daily life. Trauma severely compromises the capacity for intimacy. Trauma can dramatically reduce focus to extremely limited goals, often a matter of hours or days.”

“If trauma entails a disconnection from the self, then it makes sense to say that we are being collectively flooded with influences that both exploit and reinforce trauma,” Dr. Maté writes.

“Work pressures, multitasking, social media, news updates, multiplicities of entertainment sources — these all induce us to become lost in thoughts, frantic activities, gadgets, meaningless conversations. We are caught up in pursuits of all kinds that draw us on, not because they are necessary or inspiring or uplifting, or because they enrich or add meaning to our lives, but simply because they obliterate the present.”

Trauma also drives many to flee into the arms of those who are orchestrating the abuse.

Systematic and repetitive trauma, whether by a single abuser or a political system, destroys personal autonomy. The perpetrator becomes omnipotent. Resistance is accepted as futile. “The goal of the perpetrator is to instill in his victim not only fear of death but also gratitude for being allowed to live,” Dr. Herman writes. This trauma lays the foundation for the most insidious characteristic of all tyrannies, large and small. Total control. Prolonged trauma reduces its victims to a state of psychological infantilism. It conditions them to plead for their own enslavement.

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“We are not content with negative obedience, not even with the most abject submission,” George Orwell wrote of the ruling “Inner Party” in his novel “1984.”

“When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us; so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul.”

Christian fascism, the subject of my book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, preys on this trauma. It replicates systems of control common to all tyrannies, including cults. Christian fascists skillfully break down adherents, severing them from their families and communities. They manipulate their shame, despair, feelings of worthlessness and guilt – the byproducts of their trauma – to demand total obedience to the church leadership, who are almost always white and male. These leaders, supposedly spokespeople for God, cannot be questioned or criticized. The connecting tissue among the disparate militia groups, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-abortion activists, right-wing patriot organizations, Second Amendment advocates, neo-Confederates and Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 is not only this Christian fascism but trauma.

“Three Percenters” patrol Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the 2017 Unite the Right rally. (Anthony Crider, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

“Totalitarian governments demand confession and political conversion of their victims,” Dr. Herman writes.

“Slaveholders demand gratitude from their slaves. Religious cults demand ritualized sacrifices as a sign of submission to the divine will of the leader. Perpetrators of domestic battery demand that their victims prove complete obedience and loyalty by sacrificing all other relationships. Sex offenders demand that their victims find sexual fulfillment in submission. Total control over another person is the power dynamic at the heart of pornography. The erotic appeal of this fantasy to millions of terrifyingly normal men fosters an immense industry in which women and children are abused, not in fantasy but in reality.”

Donald Trump is a perpetrator and savior. He personifies the callous indifference of patriarchy, wealth, privilege and power towards the vulnerable, as well as the promise that once his cultish followers surrender to him they will be protected. He inspires in equal measure fear and solace.

“People who embrace the small tyrannies are much more susceptible to embracing the large ones,” Dr. Herman told me.

“When you have a political party that embraces the subordination of women, the subordination of people of color, the subordination of gender non-conforming people, and the subordination of non-Christians, then it’s not a party that embraces democracy. It’s a party that is looking for a fascist leader and is going to find one.”

In Dr. van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” he opens with stark statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that “one in five Americans was sexually molested as a child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on their body; and one in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of us grew up with alcoholic relatives, and one out of eight witnessed their mother being beaten or hit.”

The endemic trauma in American society, which is getting worse under the onslaught of the gig economy, pronounced social inequality, indiscriminate police violence, the climate crisis and the seizure of the political process and most institutions by corporations and the ruling oligarchs, is our most serious public health crisis. It has grave individual, social and political consequences.

Die-in demonstration in February 2018 organized by Teens For Gun Reform in wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (Lorie Shaull via Flickr)

February 2018: Die-in demonstration  organized by Teens For Gun Reform in wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (Lorie Shaull, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0) 

“If trauma is truly a social problem,” Dr. Herman in Truth and Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice writes, “then recovery cannot simply be a private individual matter. The wounds of trauma are not merely those caused by the perception of violence and exploitation. The actions or inactions of bystanders, all those who are complicit in or who prefer not to know about the abuse or who blame the victims, often cause deeper wounds.” “Full healing,” she adds, “because it originates in a fundamental injustice, requires a full hearing within the community to repair through some measure of justice the trauma survivors have endured.”

You can see my recent two-part interview with Dr. Herman here and here.You can see my interview with Dr. Maté here.

“Recovery has to take place in relationships,” Dr. Herman said in my interview. “When people feel reconnected to their communities and re-accepted in their communities, then the shame is relieved and the isolation is relieved, and that really creates the platform for healing.”

“We Share Trauma” by Von Walker. Part of the “Resilience in Nature” exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio, 2021. (Steven Miller, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The key is community. Not virtual communities. But communities where we can reconnect and see in our wounds the wounds of others. It requires access, without onerous medical bills, to mental health professionals. It requires dismantling the corporate structures of oppression. It demands a new ethic, one that values empathy and self-sacrifice. We must reject the cynicism, indifference and cult of the self that all tyrannies inculcate in those they dominate to keep them passive. We must reach out to our neighbors, especially those in distress and those who are demonized. We must uncouple from consumer society and turn away from the allure of our cultural narcissism.

The moral philosopher Bernard Williams argues that resentment and indignation are as important as empathy and connection to solidify social bonds. It is not only our own dignity we must protect, but the dignity of others. These “shared sentiments” he writes “bind people together in a community of feeling.” Acts of resistance around these “shared sentiments,” this “community of feeling,” establish ourselves as distinct, autonomous beings. We may not defeat these tyrannies, but by battling against them we free ourselves from the grip of the small and large tyrannies that deform American society.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

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The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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31 comments for “Chris Hedges: Trauma in the USA

  1. Duane M
    September 9, 2023 at 08:52

    If I were still teaching, I could organize an entire course around the ideas in this essay by Mr. Hedges. The key, as he says, is community. Community has been lost in American society, and it is a big problem to restore community once it has been lost. Our society is badly fragmented and the dominant forces in society promote fragmentation. By which I mean especially, the economic system, social media, and commercial media. The dominant attitude is that we are all treated as either individuals or members of small, nuclear families rather than as members of a community. And the trauma resulting from that is so universal that most of us are not aware of it. I think Mr. Hedges sees it as it is. Unfortunately, the way out is not so clear to any of us, yet. I think, as a society, we are lost in the deep woods.

  2. Setu Taule'alo
    September 8, 2023 at 18:11

    All the veiled support for Mr Trump in this comments section is indicative of how polarised the US psyche is, it seems for some people political debate is really framed by the 2 corporatist major parties. This is an illusion, these 2 parties are essentially two heads of the same serpent. Framing political discourse as a binary exchange between the 2 merely betrays a shallow perception of the world.

    The difference between the 2 parties, is that one of them openly advocates discrimination as part of its platform, through racism, misogyny (anti-abortion laws are fundamentally misogynist), transphobia, and homophobia.

    The cult of the grifter Trump, (framed as ‘anti-establishment), is one of the saddest displays of desperately hopeful group-think by white conservatives in living memory. The last time I saw desperate group-think trying to paint someone as a new ‘messiah’, it was white liberals gushing over Obama. Murder babies in their beds with drones Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama.

    Framing US politics as a struggle between these 2 parties is a false dichotomy. They both; display unwavering support for the military industrial complex, perpetuate a militaristic neocolonial project of conquest on the so-called Third World, support archaic gun laws (framed as ‘freedom’), and basically promote arrogant US militarism and economic warfare as a ‘fix-all’ solution to everything.

    Hedges is right imo. The US seems to have given itself PTSD. May God have mercy on us all.

  3. tr
    September 8, 2023 at 15:29

    The Bipartisan destruction of communities and neighborhoods which started back in the 70s under Carter (possibly earlier). This was a response to the uprisings of the oppressed and the support from a lot of young radical whites who in the past were kept segregated from their brothers and sisters of these oppressed communities. This scared the bejeezus out of the powerful.

    Since the 70s and 80s the destruction of communities/neighborhoods has progressed to the point that neighbors can live next door and not even know each other.

    Come the Covid freakout and the last vestige of intimate relationships came under the same attacks by the same power entities (again Bipartisan as this destruction benefits both the psychopathic parties). They got friends going at friends and family members attacking family members over whether someone refuses to participate in a mass human experiment – The “Vaccine’!

    Now anyone who poses a question differing from the accepted narrative is an evil nazi Putin puppet who loves Trump. All things lead back to Trump. He is the legacy of Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc ad nauseum.! He is from their neck of the woods where money and power is all they want and desire. Stop with the narrow minded -Trump is the pinnacle of evil. If it weren’t for the evils of Biden, Obama, the Bushes, the Clintons and Reagan we wouldn’t have to worry about Trump. If we had a truly just and fair legal system they would all be sharing the same address – behind bars.

    Now can we get on with organizing the revolution!

  4. Rudy Haugeneder
    September 8, 2023 at 11:36

    Today is simply a repeat of Sapiens’ history. This will never change.

  5. Michael Kritschgau
    September 8, 2023 at 06:12

    The rise of Neo-Fascism?
    What about the extreme leftism that has plagued the U.S. in the past 10 years?
    The extreme left has occupied every branch of the government to the point now where Harvard ranks as being No.1 worst university in the U.S. in terms of free speech. Seven out of 10 Harvard teachers and researchers have been censored for what they have wrote or spoken. This is fact. Neo-Fascists haven’t done that, the extreme left has done.
    While Hedges worries about the neo-Fascists being on the rise, the U.S. is already being eaten inside out by leftist totalitarianism.

  6. izzy
    September 7, 2023 at 13:12

    A largely accurate article, though one quote could use the addition of a counter balancing rewrite:

    “When you have a political party that embraces the subordination of men, the subordination of white people, the subordination of naturally heterosexual people, and the subordination of Christians, then it’s not a party that embraces democracy. It’s a party that is looking for a fascist leader and is going to find one.”

    The two-headed party system pulls in one direction.

  7. Richard Musser
    September 7, 2023 at 12:20

    Your analysis is weakened by your tendency to frame Trump and Christian fascists as representing the “neo-fascist” danger. It is so much wider than that. Biden and the democrats are a real world fascist danger that we don’t have to imagine, bc they already:
    1) Establish censorship avenues between Big Tech and federal agencies like the FBI.
    2) Worship the military and empire.
    3) Scapegoat and marginalize the poor in this country.
    4) Jail and criminalize political opponents.
    5) Propagandize with one big lie after another.

    • Susan Siens
      September 7, 2023 at 15:20

      Thank you, Richard. I’m getting really tired of the portrayal of Trump as a neo-fascist, when we’ve got one in the White House plus Congress, plus the judicial system, plus the people we don’t see who are driving the entire agenda. They’re all gangsters and you fall into the trap when you select one to be your Poster Demon.

    • Michael Kritschgau
      September 8, 2023 at 06:21

      I agree. Hedges, being a socialist himself, is blind to the real danger in America, which is the extreme left.
      The extreme left has already destroyed free speech in the U.S. and is in cahoots with the American oligarchs with their military-congress industrial complex.
      Trump won’t become president anymore, for that I am sure, since they will destroy him by next year (they, as in the above mentioned collusion).
      Also, anyone who dares to challenge this extreme leftist ideology will be branded a neo-fascist. This will make the uncovering of the real neo-fascists even harder since they will blend in with the innocent victims accused of neo-fascism.

  8. Robert Crosman
    September 7, 2023 at 10:48

    Hedges writes: “The professions that sustain community, such as teaching, manual labor, the arts, journalism and nursing, are underpaid and overworked.” Arguably this is because there is a plentiful supply of people who want to do these jobs, which allow the worker to nurture others – or in the case of manual labor, to evade extensive schooling, and to see the concrete product of one’s labor. So the classical “laws” of economics account for the lower pay in these professions.

    The tenor of many of the reader comments here is that Hedges’ shrill and accusative tone is counterproductive to his message, which, certainly with respect to Donald Trump and to many of his followers, is spot-on. But nostalgia for the U.S. of the 1950’s – before the Vietnamese War, Watergate, and the economic turndown of the 1970’s – accounts for much of Trump’s support, even from good Christian people like those described by Cookie out West. These nice people just wanted to “make America great again.”

    September 7, 2023 at 06:54

    While I admire Rev. Hedges’ trenchant observations on the state of society I notice that as a minister he has a blind spot when it comes to acknowledging the central role of his faith in creating the ethical foundation of today’s catastrophes. On this I will say no more than ask: what might the western hemisphere look like if the alien visitors had been Buddhists, say, instead of a folk whose holy book contained gleeful accounts of genocide, ethnic superiority, slavery, and all manner of other barbaric behaviors? Sure, there are all sorts of love-thy-neighbor and turn-the-other-cheek stuff in a section of it too, but there is damn scant indication of these quaint notions playing much of a role in the colonialist empires that annihilated the ancient cultures of the Americas.

    • Susan Siens
      September 7, 2023 at 15:25

      I was at a seminary orientation and pointed out in the last discussion that Bishop Tutu said that Christianity brought us slavery, the Holocaust, and apartheid. One of the teachers — which proved that I didn’t need to pay someone uneducated and stupid to “teach” me — protested, “But they’re not Christians!” I think she was referring to Nazis and how I wish I had had the photos a friend sent me of Catholic hierarchy giving the Nazi salute.

      ALL religions can either lead us to a mystical connection OR just serve as window-dressing for a hierarchical, social agenda committed to domination and exploitation. (You should have read my Sri Lankan penpal’s hatred of Buddhism.)

      • Michael Kritschgau
        September 8, 2023 at 06:51

        Not all Christianity brought slavery or colonialism. Christian Orthodoxism has managed to keep our identity in Eastern Europe when the Ottoman Empire have ravaged our lands and kept us in slavery for 500 years. That is why Orthodoxism is so beloved in Eastern Europe. It has also kept our spirits during the communist oppresions.
        Christian Orthodoxism has never conquered or colonised, even though an argument can be made that the Byzantine Empire may have used Orthodoxism as a spear in its own wars.
        However, Orthodoxism does have the sin of colluding with fascists elements and governments in Eastern Europe during WW2. That colluding came out of fear of communism and the destruction of religion as was seen in Soviet Russia under Stalin.

  10. Alex Goslar
    September 7, 2023 at 06:41

    A brilliant observation by Chris Hedges. However, this social malady is not typically American, it is a human default. Tackling socio-economic issues as an individual seems to be a far-fetched ambition that’s why we tend to relinquish such tasks to faulty governing institutions. But since every one of us participates in the economy in some way, it is conceivable to bring about changes. Confucius and Hamdi Ulukaya are just two mavericks that prove this point. Best regards, Alex Goslar.

  11. Greg Grant
    September 6, 2023 at 19:15

    This article describes something very real, there is a mental health crisis in society and capitalism that has led to obscene polarization is to blame. Yet in spite of all that being true, the author still managed to be rather sanctimonious in describing the problem and I think at the end of the day that’s just counter-productive.

  12. cookie out west
    September 6, 2023 at 18:19

    Didn’t Christ say: “I have come to seek the lost sheep” “Let he/she who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Compassion is trying to understand the suffering of others, even if they care not at all for our suffering.
    And both Freud and Jung in their last writings warned about “the enlightened people who look down on others….” that is projecting the shadow or negative stuff on to others. / I admire Chris Hedges’ “spirituality” but this article seems….what can I say….saddens me.
    My deceased brother and sister in law voted for Trump. They happen to have been the most compassionate kind generous people I ever met….humble and helping family, community etc. / Peace will prevail when humans hug everyone (metaphorically speaking)
    peace to our war weary world in the U.S. and across the world . . .

    • Susan Siens
      September 7, 2023 at 15:26

      Yes, I have not noticed that the conservatives I meet are any more “fascistic” than the liberals I meet and under whose rule I must live.

  13. Stephen
    September 6, 2023 at 17:13

    Valid analysis of our social / psychological malaise, followed by the non-sequitur that “neo-fascism” is its cause, corollary, or effect.

  14. September 6, 2023 at 16:37

    “Donald Trump is a perpetrator and savior. He personifies the callous indifference of patriarchy, wealth, privilege and power towards the vulnerable, as well as the promise that once his cultish followers surrender to him they will be protected. He inspires in equal measure fear and solace.

    “When you have a political party that embraces the subordination of women, the subordination of people of color, the subordination of gender non-conforming people, and the subordination of non-Christians, then it’s not a party that embraces democracy. It’s a party that is looking for a fascist leader and is going to find one.”

    The above statements reveal the extreme bias of the author and commentator and exemplifies the disinformation being constantly perpetrated by the leftist and globalist media and adherents.

    Trump does not personify the “callous indifference of the patriarchy”, etc. He is the response to the trauma, deceit and authoritarianism being directed at the vulnerable and others who are not members of the totalitarian class and “the corporate structures of oppression”.

    Nothing is more telling than the criticism of patriot groups and advocates of the 2nd Amendment, canonized in our Bill of Rights. The author neglected to include advocates of the 1st Amendment (which authoritarians, globalists, leftists and their media/social media corporate capitalists abhor) . These Amendments are the foundation of anti-authoritarianism. Eliminating them would lead to complete tyranny, as the Founders so wisely noted.

    • J Anthony
      September 9, 2023 at 05:50

      The support of Trump is the response, but the man himself, not so much. You’d be hard-pressed to find any evidence or anything you can point to that proves Trump actually cares anymore than Biden does. But I guess it’s understandable why some people want to believe he’s some kind of hero or outlier, but it just isn’t so.
      Biden, Trump, lose-lose. This is really beyond dispute and what’s most sad is how this is being allowed by a good chunk of the country, that is, that these two out-of-touch and power-mad fools can be passed off as leaders.

  15. Caliman
    September 6, 2023 at 15:33

    A very interesting essay, marred by far too broad a political brush in parts:

    “The connecting tissue among the disparate militia groups, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-abortion activists, right-wing patriot organizations, Second Amendment advocates, neo-Confederates and Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 is not only this Christian fascism but trauma.”

    Seriously? The many times disparate people who believe in gun rights, who are against federal abortion rights, the 70 million plus who voted for Trump not once but twice, people who showed up to exercise their constitutional right to demonstrate their opinion of a perceived stolen election … all these people are not only fascist christians but also traumatized?

    “We must reach out to our neighbors, especially those in distress and those who are demonized.”

    Yes … and preferably we should avoid demonizing …

    • Jack Gordon
      September 6, 2023 at 17:58

      Your comment is spot on. I’d also add that it’s risky at best to rely on any stats offered by the CDC. It has proven itself to be a reliable flunky for corporate America for several years now.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      September 7, 2023 at 00:20

      I’m assuming what Chris Hedges is saying is that we are all starving in this society. Starving for air, starving for connection, starving for meaning. It may seem that the latest billionaire’s stupid adventure is not a sign of starving, but starving alone leads to billionaires in the first place, the need for outside confirmation instead of inner confirmation, the rise of a celebrity culture that dissects and dissipates our shared commonality. 60% of those attacking the Capital on January 6 were either already in bankruptcy court or facing judicial action by creditors. We can’t forget that. Religion can’t save us when maggots have been let loose upon the center of our being. We need to find common ground very quickly among ourselves on whatever level, or be willing to capitulate reality to self-centered, psychopathic individuals supported by insurmountable arms and propaganda resources. Whether God or Moloch, neither will be a way forward. No eternal deity made the system we live under. We did. It is time to take our collective pulse, and say what needs to be done for ourselves without conferring with powers that have already stilled all human activity unless it feeds their particular needs.

      • Caliman
        September 7, 2023 at 13:28

        Agree with you wholeheartedly. That’s why these obligatory “deplorable” type statements against “Trumpies” always rub me the wrong way. We, the 99%, need to come together and not let these damn divide and rulers continue to divide and rule us!

    • J Anthony
      September 7, 2023 at 06:06

      Except that wasn’t just a peaceful protest, was it? Did you see some of those signs, or hear some of the things being said by the attendees? Catch some of the behavior of these folks? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck…calling things out for what they are is not demonizing. Demonizing is making things/people out to be something they are not in order to create fear and resentment that is otherwise not insubstantial.

      • Susan Siens
        September 7, 2023 at 15:31

        You do know that the Capitol riot was engaged in by many members of the federal government, right? Another false-flag event meant to frighten Americans into capitulation to the real fascists, those who rule us. FBI was there, Secret Service was there, DC Metro police were there, and I don’t mean as defenders of the Capitol but as PARTICIPANTS urging unwary Trump followers into their trap. There is no way to do what Hedges suggests — actually working together — when any attempt at organization is infiltrated by federal agents who are traitors.

        • Michael Kritschgau
          September 8, 2023 at 06:33

          In 2018, a planned protest and eventual storming of the Romanian Government building that housed a democratically elected government was praised by the U.S. Embassy in Romania as being “An exercise of democracy by the Romanian people”.
          That particular government was not in the graces of the U.S. interests in Romania.
          The 2018 “riots” in Romania do not differ at all to what happened in the U.S. on the 6th of January.
          But the double standards, the hypocrisy and the blindness of the American people by the Western Media has made the 6th of January event (a “riot” created largely by the Intelligence Services) a huge makeshift trauma, which is stupid beyond description.

        • J Anthony
          September 9, 2023 at 05:55

          Yes I am aware, which is how they were able to get anywhere near that building, much less inside of it. If that were a genuinely leftist protest they would have most likely have been shot on sight. The federal government has long been more rightwing and fascistic,regardless of which of the two capitalist parties hold sway, which is how those with such tendencies get away with so much more. Yes I realize some of the participants are being harshly punished for their involvement, but implying that the whole thing was merely staged, well, if that’s the case then you certainly acknowledge Trump’s role in encouraging it then, right?

      • Caliman
        September 7, 2023 at 17:33

        Yes, it wasn’t “just” a peaceful protest … it was a protest that turned into a riot. However:

        – Not all the protesters rioted,
        – It’s not clear if there were elements in the protest that egged the crowd to riot,
        – It’s not at all clear why the police were so unprepared and allowed the crowd to get out of hand,

        Many mostly peaceful protests turn into partially violent ones later. We don’t tend to call all participants of such protests fascists, however, do we?

        • J Anthony
          September 9, 2023 at 05:59

          No I suppose not. Of course not all the protesters rioted. The point is it happened and regardless of what made it happen, the man Trump bears some responsibility. If it was a trap, as so many of his supporters claim now, then he and they walked right into it, I guess.

  16. Drew Hunkins
    September 6, 2023 at 14:25

    “…Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America describes the life of the working poor as one long “emergency.””

    This is a dynamite quote. The hungry leopard never stops chasing you.

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