Home Concepts Managing Stress & Challenges The Shattered Tin Man Midst the Shock and Awe in Mid-21st Century Societies I: Shattering and Shock

The Shattered Tin Man Midst the Shock and Awe in Mid-21st Century Societies I: Shattering and Shock

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The man sitting next to this digitally-enthralled grandmother is likely to be a Right-wing grandpa. According to Vandehei, senior citizens, especially men, still flock to Fox News — especially in prime time, and especially around popular personalities (who suggest that they report the news when they actually devote most of their time to manufacturing and describing a new reality–and reinforcing this reality with “alternative facts.”  It is understandable that health-related matters often plays an important role in the life of these men—as does a strong desire for the return of mid-21st Century society to “the good old days” (that never really existed).

While the right-wing grandpas serve as only a minor threat to the more liberal-leaving shards of American society, the MAGA mind melders serve as a major threat. As Vandeheri notes, this “new conservative news ecosystem would seem like a distant planet to anyone whose habits were formed pre-Trump.” The reality created by Donald Trump and his enclave offer a quite different version of appropriate governance structures and the role to be played by the privileged and underprivileged in mid-21st Century society. Those living in this shard go beyond the senior citizen dream of the “good old days.” They are trying to create “new days” that more closely resembles that of anxiety fiefdoms than the mid-20th Century life envisioned by the “old guys.”

I would add another cautionary (perhaps alarming) observation regarding the MAGA mind melders. They are not satisfied to have their own shard. They also apparently wish to continue shattering the overall fragile structure of American society. Primarily, the MAGA mind melders polarize and shatter by discovering (or inventing) many enemies who are to be confronted and destroyed. In a recent publication read by many MAGA folks, articles were presented on such diverse, contentious topics as the way synthetic fragrances “wreak hormone havoc”, EPS climate regulators are a “hoax”, fluoride has a hidden presence, the US is entering the Doom loop of Deficit-Debt-Inflation, pharma is “buying” many governments, and the Chinese Communist Party is the US biggest enemy (and the source of COVID).  So many enemies and so little time to defeat them all!

We now turn to the opposite side of the political spectrum when identifying Vandehei’s seventh shard. These are the liberal warriors. Vandehei suggests that we “think of Rachel Maddow as patron saint of this bloc.” Members of this group are likely to identify themselves as open-minded and rational in their approach to alternative 21st Century perspective—they turn (sometimes) to respectable printed (and digital) sources such as the New York Times, The Atlantic and The New Yorker. Yet, they usually only turn to the opinion section of the NT times and to articles in these prestigious magazines that reinforce their own passionate (perhaps irrational) view of the world. Thee openminded folks express complete distain for views of the right-wing grandpas and (in particular) the MAGA folks.

The next two shards relate specifically to the economic power that resides in contemporary American society. The Elite power-consumers constitute the eight group in Vandehei’s taxonomy. Those operating in this group tend to be college-educated (usually graduating from a high-prestige Ivy League or West Coast university). Until recently, they would be male and highly ambitious. They follow the news because it impacts their professional career. They tend to lean toward main-stream Republication perspectives and are struggling with the overtaking of their grand old party by the MEGA folks.

The ninth shard is composed of the financiers and those who view the world primarily in terms of monetary goals. As Donald Trump once said, money is the only way to keep score regarding life success.  The Wall Street Journal is the bible for these midlife professionals (mostly men). CNBC is their primary source of ongoing information. New York City is their “hometown” and Wall Street is their “main street.” While this shard is not large in number, it is quite big with regard to economical (and ultimately political) influence.

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