[I]n addition to being treacherous and menacing, the insurrectionists are also, strictly speaking, pathetic. These are grown men and women whose lives are apparently so devoid of other sources of meaning that their self-worth depends on who occupies the White House. No one should care about presidential elections so intimately or intensely. If single elections are sincerely perceived to threaten personal identity or civilizational survival, too much is at stake.
There are lessons in these events for how Biden can help repair American political life. If the aspiration is, as leaders of all stripes have said, to “lower the temperature,” we do not need simply calmer politics or different politics. We need less politics.
For all the anti-government rhetoric of the Trump movement, it subsisted on the illusion of relationships of personal caretaking between individuals and the president. The conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet explained totalitarianism in terms of this ardent affection for politicians. The human need for community remains when traditional social bonds collapse, he wrote, so people seek it in the superficial realm of the state instead.
The last four years have upped the dose of politics so high that “less politics” is a reasonable prediction. But I’ll still give “the same or more” 30%. Fortunately, you can build a beautiful Bubble for yourself regardless of the political climate if you try. So try.