We're the country that believes that charging enormous amounts of money for pills and for medical services and taking advantage of medical bankruptcies counts as "hard work and dedication."
We're the country where giving the Pentagon whatever it wants so that it can buy weapons it's never going to use is universally imagined as a virtue by the political classes of Right, Left, and center.
We're the country that believes that driving people into homelessness and then persecuting them during the winter months is a normal state of affairs. And most of our city councils believe that the homeless will disappear if the police push them out of town.
We're the country where paying teachers very little, burdening them with unrealistic testing-and-standards regimes, and arming them with guns is considered normal practice.
We're the country in which climate change denial is a normal position.
What to do? Offer an intervention? Boycott America? Hostility might not work -- remember that the Trump wall is a variation on the Clinton wall and is based more or less upon the wall in Israel. Maybe America's everyday ridiculous strategies satisfy another need, kind of like the attention-getting thing that Deeyah Khan discovered when she went out to interview neo-Nazis?
For my forthcoming book I'm working on an expression of "human nature." I do recognize that the idea of "nature" is typically ideological, and that the term "nature" is typically used to combine large numbers of rather different things. But I do think we need an idea of "human nature," simply because the drastic and scary simplification of planetary ecosystems in the world of today is expressed as something bad that was done to "nature," i.e. non-human nature, as if that term could explain in some sufficient way what was going on, which it does not.
My expression so far is this: people are basically awkward, and so we use our cleverness to overcompensate for our awkwardness. Perhaps this is what's going on with America? You have this big group of people, Americans, and they think they're clever for doing what they do, and then their awkwardness obliges them to double down on the ridiculous strategies they've chosen. The psychologists call it "cognitive dissonance."
And my suggestion is this: if America stayed the same, it would still be composed of a bunch of awkward people who thought they were clever. If America changed, it would also still be composed of a bunch of awkward people who thought they were clever. But if America changed, maybe life would be better.