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Trump, Covid, the climate crisis – we’ve had a hard few years. The wounds linger | Rebecca Solnit

Our catastrophes have wrought psychic devastation. It’s worth acknowledging that and trying to be kind to one another

Everything is weird and everyone is wrecked. This is maybe the biggest and least acknowledged truth of life in the United States and a lot of places beyond right now. It’s the pandemic; the eight years of Trumpism; the distortions, disruptions and corruptions Silicon Valley has promulgated and other looming menaces, including climate chaos. We all know this, because we’re living it, but maybe we should talk more about the fact that our political catastrophes are inseparable from widespread psychic devastation, that the public and private, political and personal, are entangled – or rather that the former has wrought havoc on the latter.

The wisest people I know are aware that the stresses, atrocities, divisions and divergences from norms of recent years have made them (and everyone else) exhausted and brittle. The less wise but no less brittle either lash out with the sense that what’s wrong is definitely someone else or take refuge in cults and oversimplified versions in which they are at least in control of what it all means.

Rebecca Solnit is a Guardian US columnist. She is the author of Orwell’s Roses and co-editor with Thelma Young Lutunatabua of the climate anthology Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility

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