Dear Bennet, you wouldn’t believe it. America has gone insane. It would be unrecognizable to you, and quite chilling to see that the Big Lie syndrome has convinced 30 to 40% of Americans, mostly Republicans, of a fantasy reality.

Hitler would be proud; Goebbels, envious! Trump has certainly given each of them a run for their money. The situation currently, of course, is that democracy has fractured and is at great risk of dissolving completely as the fissure gets wider and deeper. 

It’s happening before our very eyes. At least in front of the eyes of people who see the programming and propaganda that has created two “realities.” That pesky paradigm blindness is at play, on both sides actually but in dramatically different ways.

COLLUDERS and Cohorts

Most of the Republicans have bought into a view of the world whereby they think the last election was stolen. Because someone (Trump) then many someone’s said so!  Now leaders (and I use the term loosely) are following behind the rabble-rousers hook line and stinker. 

That’s right, you read it correctly. He is a stinker, that old Trump guy, And his believers don’t even see or feel the stench that has infected them by their breathing it in. They just suck it all in as if it’s gospel, unaware. 

Bizarrely, Trump has followers taking up the torch because of (and I know you won’t be surprised here) Greed and Power, furled by grotesque resentment, insecurity and fear! Right wing and social media have become the contagion of the day, carriers far more potent than any actual pandemic virus! Covid pales in comparison!

Electronic Viruses

You know as well as I, dear bennet, it was never only Hitler and Goebels. They recruited others, tapping into their fear and resentment. Hitler didn’t build each gas chamber or erect each camp by himself. So too, has Trump gotten others to carry the banner and do the dirty work—Hannity, Ingrahm, Bannon, Giuliani, and many others. Even senators and representatives collude in this masquerade.

Many, many others until soon after his Big Lie about a lost election seeped into every nook and cranny it could find, his little ‘army’ wasn’t so little, or so it seems! Even non-believers of the lie cynically use it for their own ends, to stay in power.

Part of the problem, dear Bennet, is unfettered, unregulated and uncontrolled mass media, from Fox News (and I use the term ‘news’ loosely here) to Breitbart and a number of other extremist carriers of the Big Lie virus. Personally, freedom of speech principles have been distorted and reframed as freedom to espouse lies and falsehoods.

Anyway, the situation in America looks bleak, Bennet. You would be appalled, especially after surviving five concentration camps and several death marches due to Hitler’s Big Lie. He and Goebels had radio as the delivery system. In America today we’ve gotten more sophisticated with unchecked and amoral social media and right wing media outlets that are unregulated.


I wouldn’t want to “meet my maker” if I was Trump, Rupert Murdock, or Steve Bannon, as well as their numerous accomplices! The lies they spin for money and power are, well, staggering—the demonic opening the door to the satanic, or so it seems. Yikes! A high percentage of these nudniks, as you used to call them, even think violence is justified.

Sadly, like so many Germans in the late 30’s and early 40’s, they don’t know they’ve been used as pawns, hoodwinked and programmed to believe a lie, many lies actually. It is sad. 

We don’t know how this will turn out, dear Bennet, but it doesn’t look good for democracy. Even people who don’t believe the lies, don’t realize how precarious the situation is. And many others are just unaware. It may be inevitable that we’re going down the tubes. Occasionally I have a sliver of hope so maybe by some miracle we can survive with our democratic principles intact.

I’ll have to keep you posted!

I have tried many times to write another piece about what is happening in America today only to fail in delivering anything remotely cogent or meaningful. I keep trying to analyze it all in an effort to make peace with the insanity, death and destruction that I witness. Anything short of that has left me feeling helpless, struggling to accept the utter devastation that is occurring right in front of our faces.


Ultimately, I have come to the conclusion, albeit temporary, there’s no sense to be made of what is occurring right now. Like the mythic Tower of Babel that God strikes down, forcing different languages on humanity, so too have we been struck incomprehensible to one another. Given this failure to communicate, it is the emotional and ultimately spiritual space that is the most appropriate place for my heart to reside.

Lately I’ve been re-reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, a phenomenal depiction of humankind’s struggle to plumb the depths of one’s soul to survive extraordinary circumstances. While the current Pandemic and decimation of American society and political institutions can’t be compared to the Holocaust in any literal way, there are parallels to its “helpless/hopeless” effects on our psyches, as well as promise on how to endure it all with less damage.


It has become quite trendy in recent years to meditate, to practice living in the now, worthy practices to slow the mind and energy systems from the frenetic pace of modern life. A tension presents itself of course when one resumes daily activities that focus instead on some measure of future: Goals, activities, deadlines, etc. Without some aspect of ‘later’ or an endpoint, even if it’s a simple future orientation such as what to have for dinner, we are hard pressed to stay only in the now indefinitely.

With the pandemic we have lost a recognizable endpoint, a goal or destination of it being over, with a return to life as we have known it. In the Holocaust, prisoners lost all reference to the future or any endpoint. Similarly, though monumentally far from being as degrading as concentration camps, pandemic populations know not when any recognizable endpoint will occur. There’s always the tease of one, yet the infections rage on. Further, the chaotic and degraded democratic institutions and structure in America at this time makes nothing reliable. Nothing.


Added to this dynamic is the disconnection of physical presence with others—particularly painful for pack animals such as humans. We know we are not alone yet feel alone regardless. Besides this psychic chasm, we struggle with an altered concept of time. Purpose for and faith in some goal or intention, has to be reimagined. Is it even possible for humans to not strive for something? And in what timeframe? Without these instruments from which to steer by, life seems rudderless and a kind of moroseness or depression sets in.

Frankl’s wife, imagining, remembering her without even knowing whether she was alive or dead in another camp became his salvation, at least in part. But it was more than her. It was the field of Love in which she resided that he cultivated access, to make it through the days, through the smallest and largest degradations of daily survival. A different perspective, a deeper one, was identified on which to focus, a new horizon from a different vantage point on which to set one’s eye.


A few years ago I had the astonishingly good fortune to meet and work with Bennet Mermel on his memoir, an extraordinary man who survived the Holocaust himself. I witnessed first hand the field of Love—the goal or drive to help his younger brother, Kalvin, to stay alive as well. By trying to save Kalvin’s physical life, Bennet also helped save his own. It was a symbiosis that fueled surviving a horrific “now”, driven by suffering yet with a dignity that defied comprehensive description.

Yet there was still depression. Besides staggering constant physical exhaustion, depression was the emotional current that constantly served as undertow, threatening to suck him under due to death and degradation that was pervasive in the camps. Had Bennet not had Loves’ compass for his brother to steer by, he may never have made it. The magnet was challenged constantly by the sheer magnitude of a sense of no end in sight. Still, it was the engine that kept him going.


I was very heartened by the fact that Michelle Obama and Michael Phelps have recently addressed the problem of depression and mental health issues consequent to the pandemic and the breakdown in our society. In many ways a sorrow for loss is the most appropriate response. Like losing a limb, one cannot help but feel sad for the absence of the thing itself, but more importantly for the value and use that predictability and hope heretofore provided to one’s life.

To share that sorrow with a wider audience is huge. It feels personal, intimate, communicating we are not alone in what we witness and feel. It recognizes our shared humanity and binds us together, exhausting out grief to arrive at the other side. Ultimately, we are left to acknowledge it, to discover our own compass and help others find theirs if at all possible. For while we may not perceive an endpoint to the pandemic, let alone imagine how to rebuild America, life continues and is made better in the process. On the other side of grief is an acceptance that facilitates a language all its own: a non-Babel speak that connects us all.

Rosalie Cushman is the author of several books, The Man Confused By God and Vibrating At The Speed Of Love. They are available on Amazon and at fine bookstores everywhere.

The Man Confused By God

Vibrating at the Speed of Love