Facing Ourselves after the 2016 Election and Reclaiming the Heart of Our Democracy

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“We don’t need to speak truth to power. We need to speak it to ourselves.”

In The Rage and the Shame: Facing Ourselves after the 2016 Election and Reclaiming the Heart of Our Democracy, Jungian analyst and author Bud Harris, PhD, relates his tortuous journey of examination–both of self and society–precipitated by the 2016 presidential campaign and election. In 2016 he exploded. In this book he describes the scary realities and “inner deplorables” that he had to face and that, as a nation, we are also challenged to face.

Dr. Harris uses his life experiences–as a volunteer in an inner-city social services organization in 1970s Atlanta, as a partaker of a repressive positive-thinking zeitgeist, as a member of a cross-generational family severely and adversely affected by a warped health and mental health care system, as a casualty of the 2008 economic crash, as a self-admitted enfranchised “bubble dweller,” and always as a Jungian–to trace the path Americans have taken over the last four decades to veer from our country’s highest values of democracy, liberty, equality, and opportunity for all toward indifference, blindness, and overbearing self-interest.

No enemy of capitalism, but a critic of heartless capitalism and predatory power structures, Harris offers the psychological explanation that we as individuals and as citizens feel powerless to oppose these paradigms because we are keeping our justified rage and shame in our personal, collective, and national shadows. He argues that it’s time for us to “learn how to confront and accept ourselves and forge our rage and shame into the kind of passion that fuels creative action.”

You may recognize yourself in this book and find in it a guide to liberating anger and turning it into sustained action.

Table of Contents

1. Accepting the Death of My Vision of Society

2. The Creative Power in Facing Ourselves

3. Daring to Become Vulnerable, Aware, and Realistic

4. Isn’t It Time to Quit Being the Meanest Developed Nation?

5. Poor and Hopeless in the Land of Plenty 

6. Daring to Wake up: Purpose-Driven Help Where It Is Needed

7. It Is Time to Stop Treating Each Other Like We Are Enemies

8. Isn’t it Time to Stop Being the Cruelest Developed Nation?

9. 2008: Punched in the Gut by the Folks We Trusted

10. Power Up: Reclaiming the Heart of Our Democracy