Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday)
Americans dug into our myths
Yuval Noah Harari, in his book “Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind,” notes that groups of people come together and stick together based on the myths they tell each other and come to believe.
For a long time, America’s myth has been that we are a freedom-loving, independent group that is tolerant of other people’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Along came Donald Trump who got himself elected president.
As a former reality TV star, he quickly set about solidifying his myth to continue his reality show forever. And, outside of two failed attempts to convict him after impeachments, the American public and Congress allowed him to hold large rallies and go on talk shows, where over four years he strengthened his myth and brought millions of avid followers into his fold.
He espoused among other things that government institutions are not good, that news outlets feature fake news in order to hurt his political chances, and that we should not work with traditional world partners.
So we voted him out, but Americans are faced with competing myths that are strongly believed by almost equal numbers of people. To free ourselves, we must gently but firmly convince the other side that the traditional myth is the correct one for our country. This will be a major effort, but together, we must do it to save democracy.