I will admit to harboring the Morphean delusion that a strong enough repudiation of the politics of division and self martyrdom would have constituted a lancing of the boil, but it seems that is being revealed as the dream it always was. But still I hold out hope.
I have worked for years with people suffering from hoarding disorder–it can be (and often is) a terrifying disease that leads people to live in seemingly unendurable squalor and danger while looking around and saying “oh, it’s not that bad at all”. With most patients, you can get a lightbulb moment where they become honest with themselves and their loved ones and admit how ugly and precarious their situation has become. I believe that is where we are at now.
I wish I had good news following that realization, and there is some. Many people, once the light has been turned on, seek out the help they need from friends, family, and counselors, and get their house in order (quite literally, in most cases). But just as many do not. They make a token effort, or one huge cleanse and purge cycle, only to fall back into the same behaviors. Without introspection, support, and work–actual, capital ‘W’ Work–on the self and the underlying causes, it all comes crashing back, often worse than it was before.
But there is a choice to be made. And it can be made, and followed through on, one tentative, agonizing step at a time.