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Further Consideration: No wonder Michelle Obama is depressed. Why aren’t we all?

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In her podcast last week, former First Lady Michelle Obama shared that she is suffering from what she termed “low-grade depression,” to which an entire wave of women and men wagged their heads and sighed, “You and me, both, Sister.”

Ms. Obama attributed her simmering sadness to the obvious.

There is, of course, COVID-19 and the many ways it continues to dismantle not only our daily lives, but our ability to plan and hope for the future events and occasions that typically keep us going in the midst of the mundane.

There is the exhausting, but essential, thread-by-thread examination and evaluation of the fabric of our society as we finally face the reality that the mythology of the American dream and egalitarianism is, indeed, little more than fairytale.

And finally, there is the unsettling truth that, due to an ersatz mad monarch in the White House, for the first time in many of our lives, we know the vulnerability and insecurity of a people ostensibly being led by an unsound and irresponsible leader.

The bottom line is that no one has our backs, and it’s scary.

Of course, critics of Obama, like Bill O’Reilly and senior Trump legal advisor/homophobe Jenna Ellis, reacted to her statements respectively by laughing at her on national TV and tweeting that the former first lady should simply go to church if she feels blue.

But with one out of three Americans also reporting an increase in depression and anxiety, triple the rate of reports as of this time last year, it is clear that Ms. Obama has identified a common condition across the country.

Americans are not only bombarded with the wearisome issues cited by Obama, but there is a whole litany of fears and worries we hardly let ourselves acknowledge lest we crumple under the weight of it all.

Remember global warming and the time clock ticking down the future of the planet? What about the conditions at immigrant detention camps, or the fact that the camps still exist? How many of us are keeping ourselves from doing the math when we think about the balance in our bank accounts this time next year? And most of us can’t handle the truth that handguns are a tremendous commodity now with more than 2 million Americans becoming first-time gun owners during the first half of 2020.

Oh, and have we chosen the sacrificial children for our governor to present on the classroom floor as tribute to his fetishization of the sociopath-in-charge.

It’s not the mental health of the population or the former first lady we should be most concerned about. It is the lack of mental health evident in the executive office.

Despite the Goldwater rule which, in the American Psychiatric Association’s Principles of Medical Ethics, says physicians should not offer diagnoses of public figures, dozens of physicians have stepped up to warn that Trump suffers from dangerous mental disorders which cannot be ignored by responsible people.

Granted, it’s not easy dealing with mentally incapacitated leaders, especially when they serve in a more sovereign role than the Constitution intended.

Even for real monarchs, it took the War of the Roses and a stay in the Tower of London to take out Henry VI, and a regent was finally appointed for the last decade of the life of Mad King George.

But as far back as 1964, the late presidential scholar Richard Neustadt warned us in hearings of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments at Fordham Law School, that constitutions cannot “protect you against madmen. The people on the scene at the time have to do that.” To which the nation responded by adopting the 25th Amendment in 1967, and an avenue was provided to protect the people from the sort of reality star foolishness from which our country suffers now.

The question is thusly begged, where are these responsible people and who are the people on the scene who will make this happen?

We are an unstable nation being led by unhinged leadership and the situation grows more volatile every day. No wonder Michelle Obama is depressed. Why aren’t we all?

Cindi Boiter is a writer, editor and arts advocate. She is the founding editor of Jasper magazine and the Fall Lines literary journal and the executive director of The Jasper Project.

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