These are interesting times in America.
Nearly every major intersection on Long Island has a CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid drugstore open 24/7. And the reason the pharmaceutical industry thrives is because there is now an epidemic of psychosomatic illnesses in America.
My research as well as Dr. Paul Shorter’s suggests that nine out of 10 Americans experience some psychosomatic illness within any one-month period.
They will report headaches, back pain, skin problems, digestive illness or transient infection or pain.
Despite an abundance of available health professionals of all kinds, people seem to be sicker than ever. Why is this?
Firstly as social media has grown there has been a simultaneous loss of real community. It has gone so far that now iPads are regularly installed in strollers so the infants can watch TV.
Long gone are the days of those predicable and friendly family dinners to connect with those you love.
We are all on the go and very busy chasing the American dollar and the American dream.
In fact we’re all so busy we wouldn’t recognize the American dream if it hit us in the nose. We are like that scene in “Alice in Wonderland” where the Mad Hatter says “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.”
The result of this endless rushing about is anger, lots and lots of anger.
Our current epidemic of psychosomatic illnesses is based upon the above.
The MIT professor Noam Chomsky refers to this as generalized anger in America. The failure of the middle class to achieve economic growth has resulted in chronic overwork for nearly every middle-class family.
Mothers work, fathers work overtime and kids are left to fend for themselves.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that Donald Trump’s election was largely based upon generalized American rage.
Like Howard Beale in the 1976 black comedy “Network,” the American middle class finally shouted in unison, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!”
When a nation feels chronic anger for so many years people will either drink too much, eat too much, turn to medication or get sick. And lots of people do all of the above. And when all these things fail they overturn the government.
This is what happened this year. In some way we are undergoing a revolution.
We witnessed the collapse of the two-party system and a full-on repudiation of the Washington establishment.
And what we now see is the expression of anger from nearly every segment of America.
Liberals march in the streets, conservatives shout epithets, the media expresses its disgust, Broadway shows like “Hamilton’’ pronounce their concerns to the audience and the president-elect tweets his indignation in the middle of the night. Madness is upon us.
The label “Ugly American’’ is truer today than ever before. Trump is the quintessential exemplar of aggression, competitiveness, arrogance, entitlement and vulgarity.
However, he is also a man for our times.
The silent majority has finally spoken. It has suffered long enough, for nearly four decades and this has resulted in a population with an abundance of mental illness, drug addictions, obesity and a growing list of psychosomatic diseases.
President-elect Donald Trump, a man with no political experience at all, won because he remains America’s last great hope.
I can’t complain one bit because the current emotional state in America has given me a thriving psychoanalytic practice.
But others do have a right to complain and do have a right to feel neglected and enraged.
In all revolutions boundaries collapse, protocol is demolished and propriety ends.
Trump tweets madly away as a Broadway show expresses its concern to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience.
Trump promises a big wall to hold us all together, to keep intruders away and to re-establish an American identity.
Shaky times for America and I have never seen such political interest. This seems even more sinister and more important than the cultural revolutions of the late 1960s.
Maybe that’s the way it ought to be. It’s been said that this revolution is a backlash to the cultural changes that began in the 1960s.
We’ve all been wondering when things will begin to get better. We all know there is too much road rage, too many school shootings, too much competition, too much overwork, too much drug use, too much exhaustion, too much illness and too much malaise.
The pharmaceutical industry and the social media industry are just about the only industries that seem to be thriving.
So let us pray there will be real change, real growth and real connection in our homes and towns.
Who would have guessed that a man called Donald Trump would be needed to bring some hope and some peace to our land. And if he succeeds I guarantee that we will slowly begin to see less use of medication, less illness, less alcoholism, less obesity and more of a sense of community.
My guess is that America is looking for some spiritual light leading us out of our current malaise. But until that light comes along we may have to settle for a new president.
These are interesting times in America.