Who Are We, America?
by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
For more than a generation the narratives, myths, legends and stories (culture) that bound us together as a nation were overpowered by media noise and corporate branding campaigns. Our culture became threadbare as many insurgent subgroups chipped away at our national mythology by inserting competing amendments and alterations to America’s story in an effort to make us a more inclusive nation.
Millions of Americans became disoriented, disaffected and felt marginalized amid the morass of competing narratives, the vanishing clarity of who they are, and the unfulfilled promises of both political parties and corporate entities as they competed for power with increasingly loud and belligerent messaging.
Then along came Donald Trump with an entirely new American mythology, a new story about who we are. This has been a clarifying storyline that captures the imagination of those who no longer respond to America’s traditional fictions. Donald Trump has created a new nation in the minds of millions who needed something and someone to believe in again. It is a story that defines America as an exceptional nation of exceptional people under siege by immigrants, racial groups, ethnic group, the gay community, and non-Christian religions.
Now we are at a crossroad in history. We can’t go back to what wasn’t working and can’t abide by what Trump has created. We need a better, brighter, more radically different national narrative about who we are as a nation. We need a broadly shared vision of who we are that can make and keep better promises for us all.