Healing America’s Narratives: Slavery, Civil Rights, and Whose Lives Matter

[Part of a series, this essay is adapted from Chapter Five of Healing America’s Narratives: the Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow (October 2022)]

Photo (c) by Robin Jonathan Deutsch on Unsplash

In the conventional history of the United States, we tend not to hear or read too much about the actual moments of invasion of African communities, the violent kidnappings, the wretched conditions for those who made it onto the ships, the watery graves of those who died in transport, the felt experience of any one of these human beings amid those unimaginable episodes, and the many subsequent episodes of being bought and sold and charged with forced, unpaid, backbreaking daily labor. That sentence itself does a feeble job of capturing the enormity of the horror inherent in these acts.

Amid our current cacophony of divisive voices screaming at each other through often narrow, partial views regarding race, racism, antiracism, critical race theory, and whose lives matter, it’s essential to remember how we got where we seem to be and to consider where we may be going from here.

Remember that, in order to convince slave state planter-politicians to sign what would become the U.S. Constitution — providing them with additional seats in the House of Representatives and additional electoral votes in presidential elections based on the number of enslaved humans they owned — the “three-fifths compromise” effectively valued each enslaved person as three-fifths of a human being. These individuals, who had been torn from their homes and their families, were deemed to be worth 60% of a full human being for tax and representation (of their owners) purposes. Without slave labor, wealthy plantation owners and politicians would not have fared as well as they did — if fare well they would have at all.

Remember that the Emancipation Proclamations in 1862 and 1863 announced but could not enforce the freedom of formerly enslaved people.

Remember that the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which made slavery unlawful in 1865, was followed almost immediately by the formation of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee, and remember that the U. S. was among the last of the slave-trading and slave-owning countries to ban both trading and owning enslaved human beings.¹

Remember that the 14th Amendment in 1868 guaranteed citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States, prevented any state from depriving citizens of life, liberty, or property without due process and from denying any citizen equal protection of the laws. Notice and remember that 150-plus years later, our nation still struggles to manifest this particular destiny of equality.

Remember that the 15th Amendment in 1870, which granted formerly enslaved males the right to vote, was followed by decades of lynchings, beatings, local Jim Crow policies, and Black Code laws, especially in the South. Remember that such abominations prevented U.S. citizens from exercising their right to vote (and other rights) — through threats and violence, convict leasing, and low level bureaucracy that included “testing” that no white man, including the testers themselves, had to endure or could have passed as a prerequisite to voting.²

Consider that, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, between 1877 and 1950 some 4,425 lynchings of blacks by whites occurred in the United States.³ In the previous twelve years — euphemistically referred to as Reconstruction, an additional 2,000 lynchings took place, including thirty-four mass lynchings.⁴ Historically, lynchings have included beatings, burnings, shootings, stabbings, hangings, and other torture, sometimes in combination, and were often announced in advance in local newspapers and on posters, and attended by hundreds and sometimes thousands of white spectators, including children.

Fast forward to the third decade of the twenty-first century and one disturbing observation (among many): it’s a step in the right direction that a white police officer, Derrick Chauvin, was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, who was black, and that Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan, all of whom are white, were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a black man. Had these two murders been the first of their kind — outside any historical context — they would warrant our outrage and grief. That they occurred in the historical context of two-hundred-plus years of American proclamation, declaration, legislation, and opinion regarding discrimination is the catalyst for tens of thousands of individuals gathering and grieving in public, and not just in the United States, in the name of equal protection and justice.

Yes, we have made progress as a nation, and we still have much work to do. Both are true. For an expansion of this essay that includes a more detailed look at race in the U.S. military, critical race theory, and antiracism in the context of collective Shadow, see Chapter Five in Healing America’s Narratives.

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  1. For a list of countries and the dates they ended slave-trading and (usually subsequently) slave-owning, see: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-slavery/chronology-who-banned-slavery-when-idUSL1561464920070322
    For an overview/timeline of slavery and civil rights in the U.S.
    see https://www.ushistory.org/more/timeline.htm
  2. Ferris State University provides examples of literacy tests from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. See if you can pass:
    Alabama: https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/pdfs-docs/origins/al_literacy.pdf
    Louisiana: https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/question/2012/pdfs-docs/literacytest.pdf
    Mississippi: https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/pdfs-docs/origins/ms-littest55.pdf
  3. Equal Justice Initiative, Lynching in America, 39–47. These pages provide statistics along with some narrative. The volume’s 90 pages provide a searing look into its title and is also available online: https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/
  4. Equal Justice Initiative, Reconstruction in America, 6–7, 40–55. As with all of EJI’s publications, these pages are representative; the volume warrants a full reading. Also online: https://eji.org/report/reconstruction-in-america/https://eji.org/report/reconstruction-in-america/

Healing America’s Narratives: Trails of Tears and Broken Treaties

[Part of a series, this post is adapted from Chapter Four of Healing America’s Narratives: the Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow (Now Available)]

Photo © by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

Some five-hundred-plus years ago, European explorers began bumping into land masses now known as South, Central, and North America and the islands of the Caribbean. The indigenous inhabitants of these areas include the Taíno, Aztec, Lakota, Yucatán, Iroquois, Inca, Nez Perce, Huron, Apache, Cherokee, Navajo, Olmec, Inuit, Toba, Quechua and Chibcha, among many, many more.

These peoples had been on these lands for some 10,000 to 20,000 years when the English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French met, interacted with, and eventually colonized them.¹ Slaughter, rape, removal, and betrayal often characterized the colonization process, which in contemporary parlance is a literal cancelation of people and culture. The invaders interpreted what was different as “lesser” (or, as some might say today, not “woke”) and perceived the unfamiliar humans as “innocents,” “savages,” or both.

A pattern emerged: arrival, intrusion, violence, commerce, acquisition of land through treaty, and acquisition of more land through violence and treaty betrayal. As more Europeans arrived or as something of value was discovered in or on the land, the Europeans and then the Americans broke treaties and took what they wanted.

In his enforcement of the 1830 “Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi,” Indian killer, slaveowner and president, Andrew Jackson, promised that “There, beyond the limits of any State, in possession of land of their own, which they shall possess as long as the Grass grows or water runs. I will protect them and be their friend and father.”² Estimates put the total number of humans removed during the 1830s at around 100,000, with 15,000 deaths along the way.³ Said differently, an infant, a child, a woman, or a man was forced to leave home 100,000 times and travel hundreds of miles in horrible conditions. More specifically, some 2,858 refugees were forced to travel some 1,200 miles by steamboat and some 12,496 were forced to travel by foot and wagon for 2,050 miles over three different routes.⁴ Their friend and father didn’t protect them.

That’s a synopsis of one example. Here’s a list of several more, among many: the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 (broken amid a gold rush shortly after it was signed); the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre and the retaliatory 1866 Fetterman Massacre; the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 (broken in 1874 with the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, and again in 1877 with the Congressional “act to ratify an agreement with certain bands of the Sioux Nation of Indians and also with the Northern Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians” in direct violation of Article XII of the 1868 treaty, effectively taking the Black Hills without consent of 75% of adult male Indians).⁵

By 1890, the 60 million acres of the Great Sioux Reservation, as identified in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, had been reduced to about 22 million acres in 1877 due to government’s and prospectors’ interest in gold and other minerals, and then further reduced to 12.7 million acres through the Dawes (General Allotment) Act of 1887. The Dawes Act ended the tribes’ communal holding of land and allotted set acreage to individual Indians, who were required to farm the land for twenty-five years. Any land that was not so allotted would be sold to the public.⁶

Less than thirty years after the 1890 slaughter of some 150 children, women, and men at Wounded Knee, Choctaw men whose parents and grandparents had been removed from their land in the 1830s enlisted to fight in World War I and became the first “Code Talkers,” using their native language so enemy spies could not understand messages. Some thirty-three tribes, most famously the Navajo, would similarly serve in World War II.

Fast forward to 1980: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that in 1877 the U.S. government had in fact illegally taken the Black Hills in violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. The ruling upheld a 1979 Court of Claims decision that called on the U. S. to pay $17.5 million plus 5% annual interest, which at the time totaled about $106 million. The Sioux refused to take the settlement, which is now worth more than $1 billion, asserting that the land was never for sale, that money was not just compensation, and that the value of the gold, timber, and other resources removed from the area is significantly greater than the money offered.⁷ The issue remains unresolved in 2022.

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1. Adam Rutherford. “A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas.” Atlantic. October 3, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/10/a-brief-history-of-everyone-who-ever-lived/537942/. Accessed March 8, 2021. The article is adapted from Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes. New York: The Experiment, 2017.

2. Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States 1492-Present, (Harper Perennial, 1999/1980), 133–34.

3. Elizabeth Prine Pauls, “Trail of Tears,” Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/event/Trail-of-Tears, Accessed February 10, 2021.

4. Claudio Saunt, Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory, (W. W. Norton, 2020), 280.

5. Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, Article XII: https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/fort-laramie-treaty#transcript

6. Miles Hudson, “Wounded Knee Massacre,” Encyclopedia Britannica, December 22, 2020, https://www.britannica.com/event/Wounded-Knee-Massacre Also: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Dawes General Allotment Act,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Dec. 4, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dawes-General-Allotment-Act. Accessed April 23, 2021.

7. Numerous legal, historical and journalistic sources exist for this story. See Kimbra Cutlip, “In 1868, Two Nations Made a Treaty, the U.S. Broke It and Plains Indian Tribes are Still Seeking Justice,” Smithsonian Magazine, November 7, 2018, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/1868-two-nations-made-treaty-us-broke-it-and-plains-indian-tribes-are-still-seeking-justice-180970741/; and Tom LeGro, et al. “Why the Sioux Are Refusing $1.3 Billion”, PBS News Hour, August 24, 2011, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/north_america-july-dec11-blackhills_08-23 Accessed May 4, 2021.

Healing America’s Narratives: Fear of the Feminine & the Subjugation of Women

[Part of a series, this essay is adapted from Chapter Three of Healing America’s Narratives: the Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow (October 2022)]

Photo © by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

True for a boy as well, a girl born in 1774, 1862, 1917, 1963, 1971, 2001, 2017, 2022,* or any other year received cultural givens and expectations that were unique to the time, place, and familial, ethnic, racial, and financial circumstances of her birth and childhood. That she was born a biological female provided an additional given that would impact what was expected of and available to her.

While an investigation of any aspect of our collective national Shadow discloses disturbing manifestations of what we refuse to see in ourselves, the fear of the feminine and the subjugation of women are both disturbing manifestations and foundational elements of America’s Shadow. More to the point, it is the persistent absence of the qualities of the healthy feminine, further undermined by the relentless presence of the qualities of the unhealthy masculine, that encourages and amplifies and may very well be the primary cause of America’s collective Shadow. Specifying “healthy” and “unhealthy” above is essential to this argument.

The feminine, as used here, tends more toward a concern with care, embrace, collaboration, mercy, and compassion, among other traits; the masculine tends more toward a focus on rights, independence, individualism, justice, and wisdom. While this not an exhaustive list, notice that each tendency, whether it’s considered feminine or masculine, can be beneficial in its healthy manifestation and that all of them are descriptive, not prescriptive: we can observe them, but we’re not suggesting that any woman or man is “supposed to” embody the respective feminine or masculine tendencies in a certain way.

While the historical subjugation of women is visible to any honest person who is willing to look, the fear of the feminine manifests in less obvious ways. This essay posits that those men who primarily manifest unhealthy versions of masculine traits like rights, independence, individualism, justice and wisdom — which historically have resulted in dominance over, violence against, and subjugation of women and others — often fear healthy feminine traits like relationship, care, mercy, and compassion as emasculating rather than integrating. More specifically, cisgender, heterosexual males who historically have been conditioned to “be men” (i.e. stereotypically unhealthy masculine) experience both a strong attraction to the power of the feminine in women and a fear-of-emasculation-based aversion to the feminine in themselves. They mistake healthy feminine-masculine integration as emasculation, which terrifies them, so they subjugate what they fear.

The white, British, Christian, male founders and earliest leaders of the United States were captives of their cultural givens (as we all are of our own). Their Bill of Rights did not explicitly demonstrate any care about or for women; their Declaration of Independence did not embrace women; their proclamations of freedom and justice for all included no mercy for women, and the significant wisdom inherent in the Constitution they framed lacked compassion for women. These statements are true as well for the Africans they kidnapped, brought here, and enslaved, for their enslaved descendants, and for the native peoples whom they betrayed, expelled, and slaughtered.

And, yes, it’s easy to look from the third decade of the twenty-first century with the benefit of much of what these founders gave us and invited us to subsequently discover and amend, and point out where we think they came up short. They had the benefit of neither the documents they created nor the learnings from subsequent fits and starts of implementing those documents, as we do, in our 246 years of history. Their documents remain remarkable; their human shortcomings were real. Both are true. We have progressed in our movement toward equality for women; we still have a long way to go. Both are true.

*Selected (among many) years that directly or indirectly impacted the lives of girls and women:

  • 1774: two years before the nation’s ‘birth’;
  • 1862: the Emancipation Proclamations & three years before the Thirteenth Amendment freed enslaved women (and men);
  • 1917: three years before the Nineteenth Amendment would give women the right to vote;
  • 1963: two years before the Voting Rights Act would begin to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment, especially in the former slave states;
  • 1971: a year before Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 would make it illegal to discriminate based on sex in any educational or federally funded program;
  • 2001: the September 11 attacks impacted the direction of the country for women, girls, men, and boys;
  • 2017: a record number of women decide to run for Congress, and most of them win in 2018, many in response to the behavior of the U.S. president;
  • 2022: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York continues her efforts, begun in 2013, to change the way sexual assault cases in the U.S. military are adjudicated.

Healing America’s Narratives: Our Collective National Shadow

[Adapted from Chapter Two of Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow]

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In mid-March, 2003 I sat with Animas Valley Institute’s Bill Plotkin and others in Payson, Arizona, for five days of an experience entitled “Sweet Darkness: The Initiatory Gifts of the Shadow, Projections, Subpersonalities, and the Sacred Wound.” On the evening of our first day there, the United States began bombing Iraq. So while we were exploring our respective individual Shadows and projections, our country’s collective Shadow and projections — “the evil out there” that we tend to see in other nations, groups, cultures, genders, colors, orientations, and people — was on full display, providing us an opportunity for recognition, ownership, and integration at the national level as well.

Jungian analyst Robert Johnson refers to “persona” as “what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world.…our psychological clothing” — the mask we wear. He refers to “ego” as “what we are and know about consciously” and to “Shadow” as “that part of us we fail to see or know…. that which has not entered adequately into consciousness.”¹

In A Little Book on the Human Shadow, Robert Bly posits that behind each of us in childhood, “we have an invisible bag, and the part of us our parents don’t like, we, to keep our parents’ love, put in the bag.” In order to keep our elementary-school teachers happy, we continue to fill the bag, and in high school we further fill the bag in order to please our peers. “We spend our life until we’re twenty deciding what parts of ourself to put in the bag, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to get them out again. Sometimes retrieving them feels impossible, as if the bag were sealed.”² Bly points out that “There is also a national bag, and ours is quite long…. we are noble; other nations have empires. Other nations endure stagnant leadership, treat minorities brutally, brainwash their youth, and break treaties.”³

So, Shadow refers to disowned or repressed traits of an individual or group that the individual or group doesn’t recognize in itself and unknowingly projects onto others, whether or not the trait is considered positive or negative and whether or not the others actually embody the projected trait. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. If I tend to have a disproportionately highly charged emotional response to someone I experience as angry, there’s a good chance that I’ve repressed or disowned my own anger — it’s in my invisible bag.⁴ Until I recognize this dynamic and work to integrate my anger, anger will follow me around and allow me to see all these angry people “out there” everywhere I go, while I remain oblivious to being the one constant at every scene of all this anger. Everyone else is angry. I’m not. Oops.

Finally, the word shadow is sometimes used to refer to negative or undesired traits that we don’t like about ourselves. We might refer to these traits as our “dark side.” These undesired traits that were never in or that we’ve already retrieved from our invisible bag are not what we mean by Shadow in this essay.(6) We don’t know our Shadow is there. Our repression and denial are not conscious choices. Collective Shadow, as used here, refers to elements that are common to individuals in the United States. A nation does not have a discrete psyche or Shadow. A nation’s Shadow exists in the collective impact of individual Shadow elements that are common to many — not necessarily all — of its citizens.

As developed in Healing America’s Narratives, the collective Shadow of the United States historically and currently includes at least nine traits: ignorance, arrogance, fear, bigotry, violence, greed, excess, bullying, and untrustworthiness. Chapter Ten of the book argues that one man — a former president — embodies all of these traits and that his life unintentionally presents us with a gift: an invitation to recognize, own, and integrate our national Shadow amid our ongoing American experiment.

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1. Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow, 3–4.

2. Robert Bly, A Little Book on the Human Shadow, 17–18.

3. Ibid., 26.

4. Anger is not necessarily a “bad” thing; it is clarifying. What can go wrong is how we understand and what we do with our anger.

Cultural Givens and the View from Here

[Adapted from Chapter One of Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow (October 2022)]

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Everything we do or say arises through our worldview, which arises through our experiences, beliefs, values, relationships, aspirations, and development. It includes those aspects of ourselves of which we’re not yet aware — our Shadow. Each of us, in our earliest moments and years is given a view of the world — “cultural givens,” — direct experiences of and beliefs about the world that our family of origin holds to be true. These experiences and beliefs include everything from ethnicity to local community to religious belief (or lack thereof) to national citizenship to our parents’ personalities to geography, climate, and year of birth.

It is possible to embrace these givens and live our lives without ever questioning them. It is also possible, and advisable, from the perspective of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health, to embrace these givens early on and then, most commonly in adolescence and beyond but sometimes earlier, to reflect on them, challenge them, and see how they hold up against our direct experience of life.

An example: my current worldview is not the one I was given at birth and began to accept in early childhood. That worldview held that I was living in the greatest country in history and tended to favor being Italian-American, Catholic, and a New Yorker, among other characteristics. Our intention here is not to criticize our cultural givens. Criticizing our earliest views and ways of being in the world makes as much sense as criticizing an acorn for not yet being an oak or an infant for not yet being an adult. There is, however, a time to wake up, grow up, clean up, and show up. In waking up, we commit to seeing ‘what is’ through various states of consciousness. In growing up, we develop by seeking and taking increasingly inclusive, comprehensive, complex, and balanced perspectives. In cleaning up, we recognize, own, and integrate Shadow. And in showing up, we live authentically and help others. You get the idea.

The obvious (and easy to forget) importance here is that every person born anywhere and at any time since humans first appeared has his, her, or their own set of givens — in every location on the planet, with or without religion, and in poverty and wealth. Makes sense, yes? Each of us has a given story — an initial set of givens — whether or not we are aware of it. Some of it is given in order to simplify a complex world for young children; some of it is given as literal truth by the adults who believe it; and each of us continues to be given more input through late childhood, adolescent, young adult, and adult experiences and observations. What we choose to accept, embrace, revise, or reject is up to us. Each of us is responsible for our choices, acceptances, embraces, revisions, and rejections. No one is exempt.

SOCIALISM,* Critical Race Theory, and Total Radical Left Control in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District

In mid-June a letter arrived in my mailbox addressed to someone who was assumed to be and has never been a “longtime, dedicated Connecticut Republican.” The letter was signed by George Logan, who’s “running to defeat liberal Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.”

*With the exception of the italicized book titles, the uppercase letters and underlined, italicized and bolded words in this post appear as they do in the in the letter.

Very little, if any, of the hyperbole, generalizations, and vague references that appear in the letter appear on Mr. Logan’s website. He is an engineer, husband, and father, and has served in the Connecticut State Senate. I have no way of knowing if he truly believes in and is 100% onboard with the content and form of the letter that bears his name, or if his campaign staff and others who would like to see him defeat Congresswoman Hayes make the strategic and tactical choices and require that he sign his name. Either way, this writing critiques the letter and not Mr. Logan.

What follows is grounded in the concepts discussed in the 2020 book Enough with the Talking Points, and is also informed by the exploration of America’s collective Shadow as explored in Healing America’s Narratives (forthcoming, October 2022). Stated briefly, George Logan’s June letter makes generalizations and assumptions that are not defined or backed up, it attempts to manipulate and/or scare prospective constituents while insulting their intelligence, and it subtly does to Congresswoman Hayes some of what he accuses her supporters of doing to him. Don’t take my word for it. Read the letter and decide for yourself. Candidate Logan is not the only candidate who behaves in this way; both Democrats and Republicans employ these tactics. Had his letter not arrived in my mailbox, I would not be writing this.

Some quotes from the letter, along with my commentary follow.

First quote:

“You’re NOT someone ready to just sit back and submit to total Radical Left control over your life by Democrats in DC and Hartford. You understand the importance of FIRING PELOSI. So I felt confident sending this Campaign Battle Plan to you.

“But before we dive into the details of the document, please keep in mind:

“1. This plan has some sensitive information. Nothing ‘top secret,’ but please don’t leave this lying around where just anyone could see it.

“2. After you’ve read it, please mail your entire Battle Plan Document back to me using the envelope provided.”

My Commentary:

The language of “submit[ting] to Radical Left control over your life by Democrats” is a hyperbolic, sweeping generalization the only purpose of which might be to terrify prospective Republican voters who might be easily scared by such exaggeration. “You understand the importance of FIRING PELOSI” says nothing about Mr. Logan’s actually opponent, Congresswoman Hayes, and, in my reading, is condescending to any prospective voter who sees that the letter attempts to conflate the two women.

The condescension continues by first characterizing the enclosed “Campaign Battle Plan” as “nothing ‘top secret'” and then requesting that letter recipients “…don’t leave this lying around where just anyone could see it.” Nod, nod? Wink, wink? Sure, it makes sense to try to appeal to in-group bias and build a community of support, but respecting the intelligence of prospective voters would similarly appeal to the sense of belonging and build support.

I’ll provide several more quotes here, and comment immediately on each one:

“Your gift of $500 could pay for television ads holding Jahana Hayes accountable for the crushing inflation we’re all feeling across Connecticut thanks to her socialist overspending.” Really? It’s a bit more complex than that. Jahana Hayes is simply not responsible for the inflation in Connecticut (and throughout the country). Mr. Logan’s letter provides no evidence that she is, or what he would do to stop it. Regarding “socialist overspending,” throughout U.S. history, attempts to use government spending to help individuals in need has been characterized by those who oppose such help as socialist or socialism. Attempts to use government spending to support failing corporations deemed too big to fail is characterized as being in the national interest. Individuals, it seems, are deemed too small to help.

Mr. Logan’s letter makes it clear that the “key to victory is delivering my truthful message to the voters about who I am, where I stand, and what I will do on issues they care about, including [among others, these two]:”

“Fighting and winning for [sic] low taxes – NO MORE SOCIALISM” See above and below for more on this socialist bogeyman.

“Getting rid of Critical Race Theory and putting parents in charge of their kids’ educations” As I write this, neither the letter nor Mr. Logan’s website provides any evidence of what he thinks critical race theory is or why he’s against it. The letter doesn’t address that many parents see Critical Race Theory as helping them stay in charge of their children’s educations. Here’s an exploration of why most Americans never heard of Critical Race Theory until 2020 and why it’s become the flashpoint it is.

In attempts to discredit Congresswoman Hayes by association, Mr. Logan’s letter refers to “the Pelosi Dark Money Machine” — as though there is not a Republican dark money machine–this is Trumpian projection for sure. What I just did there attempts to associate George Logan with Donald Trump, just as he, in his letter attempts to associate Congresswoman Hayes with Speaker Pelosi and a variety of concepts and groups (bolded and capitalized throughout the letter, which goes on: The road to FIRING PELOSI runs through Western Connecticut, and [big money liberal donors all over the country] all know it. Hmmm. But what about your opponent? Why not speak directly to how and why you would better serve all of the people in the 5th Congressional District?

“Because of the Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar socialist debt bombs, families are suffering under record-high inflation.” Blaming inflation solely on Democratic policies without providing evidence thereof is overly simplistic and dishonest; combining the words “socialist,” “debt,” and “bomb,” is clever and not original. It’s also misleading and falls again into the habit of calling anything that attempts to help those most in need in this country socialism, as noted above. As an aside, we have a socialized interstate highway system, locally socialized police, education, and fire departments, and a socialized military.

“Because of the ‘Defund the Police’ crowd, citizens across Connecticut and the whole country are enduring a nationwide crime wave that’s costing lives and livelihoods.” This sentence is simply a lie, and it will probably scare Mr. Logan’s least informed prospective supporters. The lie has nothing at all to do with his opponent, Congresswoman Hayes, whose husband is a police detective in the city of Waterbury. Neither of them has spoken out in favor of defunding the police, but Mr. Logan’s letter attempts to link defunding the police with the congresswoman.

Enough. Again, read the letter yourself. My point is to point to the generalizations and lack of substance and evidence in the letter, and I would have done the same had I received one from a Democratic or Independent candidate–I am not registered with either major political party, and I vote. I believe George Logan can and should do better than this, and Jahana Hayes deserves better than this from an opponent. I have had Enough with the Talking Points and remain committed to Healing America’s Narratives.

I suggest that the candidates discuss their positions on specific issues and that they provide specific, relevant evidence to support those positions in future mailings, conversations, and debates.

American Status Quo

The following is excerpted and adapted from Healing America’s Narratives: The Feminine, the Masculine, & Our Collective National Shadow by Reggie Marra—forthcoming in October 2022.

On September 23, 2001 Rabbi Marc Gellman was one of the religious leaders who gathered at Yankee Stadium for a memorial service for the victims of the September 11 attacks. At the time the estimated number of deaths still hovered around 6,000, and Rabbi Gellman spoke of how stating the number of deaths—like 6,000 or six million—explains very little other than “how much death came in how short a time.” He went on to say that “the real horror of that day lies not in its bigness, but in its smallness. In the small searing death of one person 6,000 times, and that person was not a number. That person was our father or our mother or our son or our daughter…”1

            America’s ongoing domestic body count requires that we honor this observation. As a nation we have become numb to the 103 gunshot deaths a day because this everyday violence only earns headline status if it qualifies as a mass shooting—with four or more victims at the same time and in the same place.2 Three doesn’t cut it. Recently, ten shooting victims in a grocery store and twenty-one in an elementary school were required to remind us of our American status quo. And even with the headlines and talking heads that such tragedies elicit, even with the photos and brief bios of the deceased, the “small searing death” of each individual carries with it agonizingly intimate memories and moments in the hearts and minds of surviving family and friends that the rest of us simply cannot imagine, try though we might.

            The United States struggles and has struggled since its inception with the denial of the worse demons of its nature. Ignorance, arrogance, fear, bigotry, violence, greed, excess, bullying, and untrustworthiness cross breed and manifest in what Robert Bly called the long invisible bag we drag behind us—filled with all we deny and repress about ourselves—our collective national Shadow.

            As a nation, America remains an experiment. We were conceived through an often remarkable fertilization of ideas that gave voice to some and subjugated others. We were born through a bloodbath that separated us from the British. We were raised on the enslavement of Africans and African Americans, on land theft from and the massacre and betrayal of Native Peoples, on the subjugation of women, and on peasant labor. We were reborn in an attempt to maintain the experiment through an anything-but-civil bloodbath with ourselves, from which we have yet to fully recover. And we were reborn yet again as a financial and military superpower as the result of a global bloodbath.

            We regularly perpetrate and perpetuate violence against others while refusing to acknowledge and address in any effective way the everyday violence we commit against each other. Not yet 250 years old, we embody unhealthy iterations of adolescent beliefs in invincibility and immortality, despite clear evidence that we are neither. Not only have we not recovered from our bloodbaths of birth and rebirth in any whole, integrated sense, we continue to choose to bathe ourselves and others in blood, literally and metaphorically, because that is the normal we know.

            Ignorance, arrogance, fear, bigotry, violence, greed, excess, bullying, and untrustworthiness: we can recognize them, own them, and integrate them, or they will continue to own us. Which do you choose?

_____

1 Rabbi Marc Gellman, remarks at the September 23, 2001 Prayer Service at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The video is available online: https://www.c-span.org/video/?166250-1/york-city-prayer-service.

2 2014-2019: 14,515 gun deaths/year avg. (not suicide) = 40/day avg; 23,094 suicides by gun = 63/day; 37,609 total annual gun deaths = 103/day: https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

Fully Human at Work: 2022

The ninth offering of Fully Human at Work begins on April 22, 2022. You are invited.

Whatever you’re currently doing to earn money in order to provide food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, indoor plumbing, heat, air conditioning, electricity, internet, phone service, transportation, and other necessities and luxuries for yourself and those you care for, consider for a moment that what you do to make money 1) may or may not have anything to do with your deepest purpose and place in the world, and 2) it may be an essential delivery system for, but is not in fact, your deepest purpose and place. This is not to say that what you’re doing to earn money is not good or important work, or that your employer (including you, if you’re self-employed) is in some way wrong or bad. It is to say that a delivery system is different from what it delivers—especially when it comes to delivering one’s true purpose.

Eco-depth psychologist Bill Plotkin writes that everything in the natural world—this oak tree, that Labrador retriever, this blue jay, that poison ivy, and every mountain, rattlesnake, dolphin, cow, river, rose, potato, salmon, grain of rice, stone, spider, and tick—has its place and purpose. Plotkin uses the word Soul to refer to a person’s or thing’s unique place in the world, and he uses the word in an ecological, rather than psychological or spiritual context. That is, he considers Soul to be “a person or thing’s unique ecological niche in the Earth community.”1

Despite what we do with, in, and to it, we humans are part of the natural world. If each of us has—if you have—a unique ecological niche, wouldn’t you want to know what it is? Rather than plugging your gifts and talents into the socket of someone else’s prefigured task and job description in order to make a living, might it be worthwhile to explore your unique place in the larger scheme of things and perhaps fully live into the one wild and precious life that you can truly call your own?2 Most of us, at least at the outset, find a job to make a living. Sometimes, if we’re willing to explore a bit and stay open, we begin to get glimpses of our unique place and the gifts we carry. And sometimes we may even get to make our living through the delivery of our unique gifts to the world. It is absolutely possible and admirable to live a good life working in a job that allows us to care for ourselves and our loved ones—without any sense of our unique place in the world. It is also possible and admirable to live into our unique place in the world in a way that allows us to care for ourselves and our loved ones.

Prior to the 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, much had been written and said about employee (lack of) engagement, mental health and the workplace,3 and, beyond just compensation, the importance of autonomy, self-management, mastery, wholeness, and a sense of purpose on the job.4 Less devastating than the illness and death inherent in the pandemic—but highly relevant to many lives—are the post-pandemic shifts in how and where some of us work and the shifts in how some of us view work. These shifts challenge varied assumptions that that many of us had (or that had us) about work and life. The pandemic exposed and continues to expose both the fragility and the resilience of humans and the systems we create. Because millions of workers have resigned their positions ostensibly due to what they learned about themselves and the possibilities for work, the media have named the impact of these shifts the “Great Resignation.” But you know this already.

Whether the Great Resignation was on its way and the pandemic simply accelerated it, or whether the pandemic played a more causative role, millions of people are shifting how they view work. And life.

In July 2019, my friend and colleague Kent Frazier and I engaged a series of conversations about mental illness, mental health, and mental fitness in the workplace. Fully Human at Work, a 12-hour, 6-session online program emerged and we offered it for the first time in January 2020. Our ninth offering begins on April 22, 2022. Details and registration information are available at: https://fullyhumanatwork.com/programs.

Fully Human at Work invites you to explore what it means to be fully human at work—and in life. This exploration is grounded in your unique experience of the relationships among:

  • Recognizing, owning, and developing your perspective—or worldview—including the “cultural givens” from your earliest years
  • Getting clear on how your intentions emerge through perspective and how they influence your words and behaviors
  • Doing more good than harm in your spoken and written communication
  • Doing more good than harm through your behavior
  • Choosing and engaging your livelihood in ways that honor your gifts and the world
  • Attending to the quality of the effort you put forth in your endeavors
  • Becoming increasingly mindful of your moment-to-moment existence
  • Navigating the multiple demands for your attention and focus5

The program emphasizes the importance of practice—in terms of what we consciously or unconsciously practice every day due to worldview and habit, and in terms of what we are willing to commit to intentionally practicing for our own development as we move forward with our lives.

Kent and I would love to have you join us on April 22: https://fullyhumanatwork.com/programs.

Comments from past participants: https://fullyhumanatwork.com/reviews-2

__________

1Bill Plotkin, The Journey of Soul Initiation, (New World Library, 2021), 15, 378, 382-83.

2one wild and precious life that you can truly call your own emerges from the intersection of language from two poets: Mary Oliver’s “one wild and precious life” (“The Summer Day” in New and Selected Poems, Beacon, 1992, p. 94) and David Whyte’s “There is only one life / you can call your own” (“All the True Vows” in The House of Belonging, Many Rivers, 1997, p. 24).

3Regarding mental health and the workplace, among many other sources, see:

Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2019/12/burnout-is-about-your-workplace-not-your-people

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

MIT Sloan Management Review: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/why-every-leader-needs-to-worry-about-toxic-culture/

4For self-management, wholeness, evolutionary purpose, see Frederick Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, (Nelson Parker, 2014), 56+; for autonomy, mastery, and purpose, see Daniel Pink, Drive, (Riverhead/Penguin, 2009), 68-145; and Pink’s TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkrvAUbU9Y

5These eight foundational elements are based on the Buddhist Eightfold Path. We do not teach Buddhism in the program, nor are we Buddhists (aspiring Bodhisattvas, perhaps). The Eightfold Path has been around for two millennia-plus, and it holds up.

Found Poems – Ukraine, March 1-2, 2022

#1

I wouldn’t really want

to participate in anything like this,

but I don’t really have any choice

because this is my home.

I have nowhere to go.

and I’m not going

to give it up.

I don’t get to decide

if Putin is going to invade or

to launch a nuclear weapon or

whatever. What I get

to decide is how

I’m going to respond to it.

My choice is to do something

productive and to help the people

who are defending my city.

     – Hlib Bondarenko, 21 years old, Kyiv, Ukraine. Yousur Al-Hlou, Masha Froliak, Mark Boyer and Michael Downey, “’There Will Be a Battle’: A Family Prepares for War in Kyiv,” New York Times, March 1 & 2, 2022.       https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/03/01/world/ukraine-russia-war

#2

I am the mother of my son.

And that is it. And I don’t know

if I will see him again or not. I can

cry or feel sorry for myself, or be

in shock—and all of it.

     But we’re past that phase.

There are more important things

in front of us now. Right now

they are coming to kill us all.

Everyone, 100 percent. Not one person

in Kyiv is feeling safe now.

     – Natalia Bondarenko, Hlib’s mother (source as above)

#3

It’s very simple. We

protect our choice of freedom,

what we selected many years ago.

We proved this several times in 2004,

2014 and now. Fight for your country.

And I pass this message to Hlib. And

I believe the same message Hlib

will pass to his children.

       – Oleg Bondarenko, Hlib’s father (source as above)

#4

Russia, the war, the

whole situation –

It’s just barbarity.

That’s how I see it.

They surely will lose

because they don’t have

any other arguments

besides cruise missiles and

heavy weapons.

       – Boris Redin, volunteer, near Freedom Square in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Associated Press, March 1, 2022

Waking Up to and Canceling ‘Woke’ and ‘Cancel’ Cultures (and the Implicitly Woke Critics Who Try to Cancel Them)

Woke and Canceling: A Quick Look

In its healthiest manifestation nowadays, being and/or staying ‘woke’ refers to an attunement to or an awareness of social justice issues that need to be addressed, and ideally, taking action that addresses them. More generally being woke involves being increasingly able to see “what is” (not just around social issues) beyond the limitations of one’s personal, familial, cultural, etc. biases. No one (that I’ve met, read, listened to, heard of or been) does this 100% successfully. In its least healthy manifestation, being woke refers to an attitude of superiority – being more woke, seeing more than someone or some other group: I’m (or we’re) better than you are. So there. Currently, most folks accused of being, or claiming to be woke are characterized as being more liberal (among other things); most of their opponents and accusers are characterized as being more conservative. These characterizations tend to do more harm than good despite any partial truths they may contain.

A casual review of history demonstrates 1) that the general concept of being or staying ‘woke’ has been around since at least the mid-1800’s in the United States – as in the “Wide Awakes” abolitionist supporters of Abraham Lincoln (and elsewhere at least since Siddhartha Gautama famously woke c. 500 BCE); 2) the specific use of the word ‘woke’ (as opposed to “awoke”) has been around since at least the 1930’s – as in Lead Belly’s (aka Leadbelly) commentary at the end of his song, “Scottsboro Boys”; 3) many folks whose behavior embodies wokeness don’t talk about it or posture as being superior; they simply live as exemplars for the rest of us – the late Congressman John Lewis comes to mind, among others; and 4) as above, some folks who talk about their alleged wokeness wield it as a weapon to point to the shortcomings of others. They (we) can be found everywhere – in the media, government, our neighborhoods, our kitchen tables and even peering back from our bathroom mirrors. Uh oh.

The allegedly woke folks (not the actually woke folks) who wield their wokeness as a weapon of superiority, whom we’ll call unskillful, publicly judge and attempt to ostracize or ‘cancel’ the inferior sleepyheads – pointing out their inferiority, silencing them, and symbolically or literally canceling their membership in whatever they had previously belonged to. Woke critics work at canceling woke people, essentially practicing what they’re allegedly opposed to. If a government agent or agency does this, it’s a First Amendment issue; if anyone else does it, it’s inherently contradictory: if I’m truly woke, I don’t need to judge, shame, silence or cancel you. In fact, I’ll probably model my wokeness by engaging you, when possible, in a conversation that does more good than harm, beyond the talking points, so we can both be woke. Buddha and John Lewis, among others, engaged in such modeling and conversation. The late Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia regularly engaged each other in this way.

The Problem with Wielding Wokeness as a Weapon

The words and behaviors of these unskillful woke folks – again, those who are allegedly woke and behave as though they are superior and right, imply a binary “woke/not woke” universe. One problem with their implication is that they never mention (perhaps because they haven’t woke to them yet) numerous other “awakenings” that are available to us, awakenings that have been researched, identified and studied longitudinally for decades.

The current woke folks’ particular wokeness, whether skillful or unskillful, seems to refer to some of the perspectives that may accompany awakening from a modern to a postmodern worldview, such as a commitment to equal rights for all in practice – which would be the not-yet-realized promise of the U.S. Constitution, its Amendments and other legislation, which emerged in an awakening from a traditional to a modern worldview. Said differently, the framers’ documents outlined a move from “traditional” monarchy to a “modern” representative democracy. It was written by, for and about landowning white men (emphasis on landowning, white, and men). Modernity woke us up to the possibility of democracy, which is more inclusive, balanced and complex than traditional monarchy (Having to do what the king or queen says is waaay more exclusive, imbalanced and simple than electing some people to represent us and letting them tell us what to do). Postmodernity, among other things, woke (some of) us up to notice those pesky landowning (or otherwise wealthy/powerful), white and men traits, and asked where the freedom and equality were for everyone else. Again, modernity gave us the Constitution; postmodernity continues to demand that it apply equally to everyone, and that it be amended as necessary to reflect the realities of the times in which we live. Why would anyone want to cancel this particular wokeness?

There may be anywhere from two, to as many as six (as far as the research shows right now) awakenings available after postmodernity, and some four or five available leading up to it.So those of us who would wield our postmodern wokeness today as a criticism of others are not at the cutting edge of anything (in fairness though, whatever awakening is next for any one of us is our personal cutting edge). When we’re unskillful, we know what we know, we’re oblivious to what we don’t know, and we consider those who are “other” as less than or wrong – just as any fundamentalist or unhealthily reformed _____ (pick your own) does. How I hold my wokeness, not its content, is the issue. If I believe in and behave every day in ways that work toward equality and freedom for all, how much sense does it make to treat as unequal or limit the freedom of those who do not yet so believe or behave? A bit contradictory, yes?

We’ve Been Assuming Wokeness and Canceling Others for Centuries

The Europeans who kidnapped, transported and enslaved Africans, and eventually the Americans who continued and fought for the right to continue that enslavement, encountered cultures they did not understand, believed they were superior to (more woke than), and literally worked, and in some cases still work, to cancel these cultures through both legal and extralegal means such as slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, unequal protections and voter suppression, initially in the name of the economic advantages of unpaid forced labor and later (and still) in a bewildering embrace of white supremacy. The Europeans who bumped into the indigenous peoples on the continents now known as the Americas, and the Americans some of these Europeans chose to become – making that 18th-century monarchy-to-democracy move, believed they were more woke than these peoples whose land they coveted, and literally worked, and in some cases still work, to cancel these cultures through a history of trespass, theft, betrayal and slaughter (in the name of helping them be more like us). To take one example, “Indian” killer and remover, slaveholder, President, and fading face of the $20 bill, Andrew Jackson, stands out as an exceptional ‘woke canceler’, who as President remarked that he had “done his duty to his red children,” and that he would “now leave the poor deluded creeks & cherokees to their fate, and their annihilation.”

From about 1954 through 1974 four U.S. presidents tried to cancel Vietnam’s sleepy insistence on self-determination. Using espionage, bullets and bombs, and despite the experiences of the Chinese, Japanese and French before us, we attempted to impose our bipartisan woke democracy on the Vietnamese (in the name of helping them be more like us). In 2003 we tried it again in Iraq. More recently almost every Republican in the U.S. Congress, led by the 45th President, attempted to cancel the 2020 election results, resulting in an attack on the U.S. Capitol. More examples exist; these will suffice.

While political, media and personal clamoring about “woke” and “cancel” culture is currently popular, it is not new, although its motivations, tools, language and tactics shift with the times. Nat Hentoff’s 1992 volume, Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other, clearly captured our dysfunction and attempts at mutually canceling censorship. Today, elected officials, news commentators, family and friends don’t know how, or choose not, to disagree (or even agree) in respectful, civil conversation. We point our fingers and wring our hands, on average we kill others with guns 39 times a day, we commit suicide 63 times a day with guns, and another 62 times daily by other means, we terrorize American citizens of Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese and other Asian ancestries because we blame the Chinese for a pandemic, we are disengaged or not engaged, anxious and depressed at work (and were before the pandemic). And yes, that’s a selective and limited catalog of issues. We have so much that we need to awaken to and that really does need to be canceled, so to speak, and yet we play on social media trying to cancel voices we don’t like or understand or both. Freedom, equality and justice for all, indeed.

Wherever and however each of us is, another awakening awaits. It doesn’t require (or desire) that we cancel anyone, not even the paradoxically grave and goofy current version of our one precious self, who is longing for an increasingly inclusive, balanced and complex way of being in the world.

_____

Copyright © 2021 by Reggie Marra

Parts of this essay are based on excerpts from Healing America’s Narratives: Owning and Integrating Our National Shadow (forthcoming in 2022).

Notes and Selected Resources

“…characterizations not very useful”: See my Enough with the…Talking Points: Doing More Good than Harm in Conversation (2020).

Lead Belly’s “Scottsboro Boys”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrXfkPViFIE&t=181s

“Postmodern to modern awakening” among numerous others:  Some folks who make the transition from one developmental worldview to another wield their new perspective as a weapon in this manner. The postmodern-to-modern “woke” move mentioned in the text is one example.

Useful notes: levels of development can manifest in healthy or unhealthy ways (would you rather live in a healthy monarchy or an unhealthy democracy?); later levels of development are more inclusive, balanced and complex than earlier levels (as in our monarchy-to-democracy example above).

    Knowing about development and actually developing are different and neither makes problems disappear, but actually developing does help clarify patterns and differentiate perspectives. Not knowing about development doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. An over-simplified example of earlier through later development can be expressed in the following way, (less woke to more woke): Self-centric (it’s all about me) >> Group-centric (it’s all about us, where “us” can be anything from a couple, to a family, to a team, to a branch of the military to an ethnic group to a corporation to a religion to a nation, etc.) >> World-centric (it’s all about all of us – aka “human-centric”) >> Kosmos-centric (it’s all about all that is – both exterior and interior realms). A significant majority of humans on the planet live through group- and ego-centric perspectives. Some of us can understand what “world-centric” means, and even espouse that view, but we don’t live there. Caring about “all of us” does not mean that we no longer care about specific groups or ourselves; it means that the groups and the self are no longer primary.

A brief sampling of books related to adult development:

Fowler, James. Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1981.

Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993 (1982).

Kegan, Robert. In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1994.

Kegan, Robert and Lisa Laskow Lahey, Immunity to Change How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2009 (pp 11-30).

Plotkin, Bill. Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World. Novato CA: New World Library, 2008.

Wilber, Ken. The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great Traditions. Boulder: Shambhala, 2017 (especially pp. 180-250 / charts pp.190-95).

“bewildering embrace of white supremacy”
Some would argue that “states’ rights” and not white supremacy were and are the real issue. The states that historically make that argument all fought to keep slavery, and then to terrorize freed African American slaves. Implicitly inherent in each, and often explicitly expressed, is a belief in white supremacy.

“‘done his duty to his red children’” In Claudio Saunt, Unworthy Republic, p. 97. Saunt cites The Papers of Andrew Jackson Digital Edition, ed. Daniel Feller (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press: 2015). I generally don’t endorse the imposition of current values and perspectives on people of the past, who often did not yet have access to what the present allows us to understand. In this case not everyone thought killing Native Americans was honorable, and there were plenty, albeit not enough, abolitionists during Jackson’s “Indian”-killing and slaveholding days.

“kill others…we commit suicide…” These numbers are based on five-year averages from 2014-2018:

2014-2018: 14,307 gun deaths/year avg. (not suicide) = 39/day; 22,925 suicide by gun = 63/day / 37,232 total annual gun deaths = 102/day: https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/ Accessed April 21, 2021.

2014-2018: 45,500 suicides/year avg. = 125/day: https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcause.html Accessed April 21, 2021. Search criteria = 2014-2018 / all causes, races, genders and ages.

we are disengaged or not engaged…at work”: https://news.gallup.com/poll/241649/employee-engagement-rise.aspx (e.g. “34% of U.S. workers are engaged, tying highest in Gallup’s history”)

Among many sources on suicide, depression and anxiety:

Suicide: https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/

Depression: https://nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression

Anxiety: https://nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders

Additional works cited:

Hentoff, Nat. Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Saunt, Claudio. Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory. New York: W.W. Norton, 2020.