There is a term for the state of emotional numbness. It is called depersonalization-derealization disorder (DD.) It is a feeling of emotional detachment from reality, and the United States seems to be experiencing DD in epidemic levels. Has Donald Trump and the Republican (GOP) steamrolling agenda created a state of emotional shock for our citizens? It would answer many questions as to the lack of reaction to the absurdity of what our country has become.
Stock Market Non-Event
This week I was listening to Market Place on National Public Radio (NPR.) Kai Ryssdal was pointing out (22 January 2016) how the craziness of Congress and the government shutdown didn’t seem to be affecting the stock market. His point seemed to be that uncertainty has become the new ‘normal’ so uncertainty no longer affects the stock market in the way it has in the past.
It seems that the United States is in a zombie-like state as more events pile on that, in the past, would have created turmoil throughout our society. Today, events like a government shutdown seem to have little, if any, effect on people.
Trauma as Normal
During and immediately following a crisis people affected tend to shut down emotionally. They cannot process all of the events that have happened and become numb to new events. It is a coping mechanism in our brains that protects us and prevents us from experiencing further emotional trauma.
Germany in the early 1930’s is an example of mass DD. The Wall Street Stock Market crash of 1929 brought a period of prosperity and stability to an end and severely damaged the German economy.
After a series of economic issues and with a government in chaos, the German people became numb to the constant state of crisis in their country. Conservatives and reactionaries in Germany began to seize power in the absence of a coherent strategy to bring order to the country. This opened the door for the Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party to rise to control the country as the people largely sat back and watched.
What Does It Mean?
We are a nation of in a state of shock from the actions of Donald Trump and the Republicans. We are likely to do nothing that will stop the racist agenda of the President and the GOP. This year’s elections may only serve to exacerbate the situation. If the Democrats take control of Congress, it may lead to a political war between Trump and Congress. If the Republicans maintain control they will feel justified in intensifying the racist agenda.
Our country is faced with a situation that threatens everything we stand for, and yet, we are numb. Let us hope there is a way out of this mess.