America Feels Like a Codependent Household

Published December 25, 2023

The Wall Street Journal

Things aren’t normal. We don’t trust one another, and the country doesn’t quite recognize itself.

America feels like an alcoholic household—crazy with grievance, accusation, irrational rage, screaming in the middle of the night. The children lie in the dark, wide-eyed, listening. In the morning, the family comes downstairs trying to pretend that everything is normal. There’s a lot of pretending: The southern border isn’t wide open; unpunished crime is social justice; the president of Harvard deserves her job.

Things aren’t normal. Everyone knows it. The country doesn’t quite recognize itself. America has gone astray in a strange new landscape. It’s a different America all right.

In an alcoholic household, the one you thought you could trust becomes a stranger—suddenly dangerous. Trust is the first casualty. A baffled country can neither grasp nor admit what it has become.

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Lance Morrow is the Henry Grunwald Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His work focuses on the moral and ethical dimensions of public events, including developments in regard to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and political correctness on American campuses, with a view to the future consequences of such suppressions.

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