|Joanne and Byron Bartlett search the remains of their burned house in Santa Rosa.|
It took me awhile to detect the common thread in nearly everything I was reading, watching and hearing. The Las Vegas massacre; hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico; Ken Burns’ Vietnam series; Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk; NPR’s StoryCorps; the California wildfires—whatever the story, I was left with more or less the same message and the same feeling. The world out there is harsh, even tragic, but we can best understand and cope with it through the richness of intimate personal relationships.
Turning away from the state and larger institutions and seemingly giving up on the hard work required to rebuild a fractured society, we are left feeling cowed and alone. Outside of world wars, the great depressions or natural disasters, the search for individual salvation remains America’s drug of choice.