America’s PTSD is real, and it’s time we acknowledge as much, as a culture and as a melting pot.

We the people make this country amazing. What can I tell ya, the sun is shining again on San Francisco. And I’ve been working on my shit.

I left Lima for Miami 20 years ago last month. As with people’s birthdays, I noted the occasion in advance, then completely forgot the day of, until the day after (I blame the heat – it was a long scorcher of a month.) Since that August in 2020, though, so much awful has befallen my dear America. Right outta the gate, the post-Y2K jubilee the country was feeling at that moment all but evaporated right before our eyes on Sept. 11, 2001. We cried the party down, shellshocked.

A generation of American kids, and of fellow humans beings around the entire planet (thanks, cable Internet!), grew up in that already heightened environment bearing witness to basically state-sanctioned mass shooting after state-sanctioned mass shooting, much too often at schools, most recently and more perniciously at places of worship and entertainment hubs. Last spring was the first time in the last 18 years without a school shooting in this country (thanks, COVID-19).

That is a lot of trauma.

I thought Americans would have reached their limit in 2012, when the little kids at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., were shot down by a maladjusted 20-year-old lone wolf. But no – they kept going, as if nothing ever happened, getting righteous about the Second Amendment, and, some of ’em, more vicious about their prejudices (no thanks for social media). Definitely never talking about the epidemic of gun violence at schools or trying to understand the sociopolitical dynamics that even led to the worst terrorist attack on America (that is, prior to the 2016 election debacle).

To say nothing of the since-then taught Islamophobia and Latinophobia and anti-Black doubling of the down that became the white norm after 9/11.

Or the pig-headed never-ending war still unfolding halfway across the world.

The PTSD is real. And we gotta own it.

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