We live in a time when the threat of annihilation feels very close. There's a good reason.
The threat of nuclear war, of nuclear annihilation seems closer than ever, or at least since the cold war. This time, the threat is pretty clearly because of two factors:
1) a dangerously mentally unstable, impulsive president Trump
2) a congress and White House leadership that allows this incredibly dangerous threat to humanity to continue to operate, continue to have access to the nuclear triggers.
The thing is, this is not a new pattern. Before Trump, we've had huge threats to the future of the planet, the ecosystem, the biome and to humanity. You know these threats--ecological, corporate, military, authoritarian governments and religions. The same pattern of cooperation enabling and use of these threats to gain power and wealth has long existed.
The problem is the system that allows Trump, nuclear powers, corporations that despoil the earth power and freedom to exploit opportunities.
The situation with Trump makes the problem glaringly obvious. But the underlying problem is the same as we've faced for a long time.
To fight the problem we need to take away the power that the people in power have, which they use to allow destructive people, organizations and forces.
No single person should be allowed or able to start a nuclear war. That's insane--not the person, but the system that allows it.
What does it take to allow such a situation? It takes a culture that so worships the role of the authoritarian leader, the role of the individual, that it fervently believes that one individual can save us all, that it is necessary to hand over the power of all of us to one person.
This is a top-down concept in a pathologically top-down world. I assure you that simply suggesting that no one person should have the power of the president will evoke a highly negative response, perhaps suggesting that you're crazy, or a communist, from a big percentage of the population, including liberals, many of whom are authoritarian personalities.
As I've written before, most people with authoritarian personalities are passive and submissive, seeking dominating authoritative "leaders" to tell them what to do, how to think, what to feel.
The system creates these people, starting in conservative families, where the emphasis is on strong, dominating, patriarchal fathers, as George Lakoff has described in his book, Moral Politics. The educational system and the dominant religions further accentuate the development of authoritarian submissives.
To really change the system so the idea of a single leader having as much power as the president is repudiated by the majority, we have to change these core dimensions of human culture. We need to return to the indigenous, bottom-up ways we lived before we were converted to or dragged into civilization. That's a huge job. But it is doable. The first step is to face the reality that we have this problem. We have to make it undesirable, even shameful to be a submissive authoritarian.
The alternative to being a submissive authoritarian is not to be a dominant. The alternative is to become a connection-conscious individual who is aware his or her connections to everyone else and to the ecosystem. This process is under way for people born after 1980 who have been immersed in texting and the internet, which have catalyzed their brains to be more bottom up. But we need to do more to wake people up, especially older people, born before 1980. Like Moses, leading the Jews who had been slaves, it may be that people who have spent their lives living as submissive authoritarians--probably the vast majority of people born before 1970--may never become connection conscious, so they are able to tolerate the idea that handing a leader so much power is pathologically dangerous, if not insane.