I've been thinking a lot about self-identity this week and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. In the past, I've tended to categorize tribalism as the source of our societal ills, but that's really not it. Author John Barth once wrote that we are all the heroes of our own story. No one sees themselves as a villain, and whatever bad acts are done are rationalized for the sake of self-interest. And perhaps that's why we see all around the nation Republicans outright stealing democracy out from under the voters: they see it as them triumphing over these little peons daring to deny them their power. Maybe that's why the gilets jaune in France think destroying little mom-and-pop boutiques in violent protests will raise awareness against the neo-liberal policies--specifically a fuel tax-- they feel oppressing them will work. Or why there are innumerous pundits willing to rationalize blatant corruption on the part of Donald Trump like this:
None of it is villainous in their minds, because we celebrate the individual triumphing, so the means justify the end if the end is more power, more wealth and more status.
So maybe it's time to rethink how we view ourselves.
For an interesting discussion with Will Storr, Ezra Klein's podcast digs deeper into the narrative of the self. I highly recommend it.
ABC's "This Week" — White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow; Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. Panel: Terry Moran of ABC, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, Julie Pace of The Associated Press; and Shawna Thomas of Vice News.
NBC's "Meet the Press" — Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Angus King, I-Maine; Gov.-elect Tony Evers, D-Wis. Panel: Kimberly Atkins of The Boston Herald; Eddie Glaude Jr., professor at Princeton University; Jonah Goldberg of the Los Angeles Times and National Review; and Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal.
CBS' "Face the Nation" — Rubio; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer; Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
CNN's "State of the Union" — Rubio; Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. Panel: former state Sen. Nina Turner, D-Ohio; former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich.; and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" — Nicholas Burns, Under secretary of State for Political Affairs (George W. Bush administration, 2005-2008); George Osborne, editor of The Evening Standard and former chancellor of the Exchequer, United Kingdom (David Cameron administration, 2010-2016); and Sophie Pedder, Paris bureau chief for The Economist; Kai-Fu Lee, author of “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order,” and Michael Lewis, author of “The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy.”
CNN's "Reliable Sources" — Carl Bernstein of CNN; Susan Glasser of The New Yorker; and Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic; Rachel Abrams of The New York Times; Max Boot of The Washington Post; David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun; and Rob Wijnberg, founder of The Correspondent.
"Fox News Sunday" — Kudlow, King. Panel: former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Guy Benson of Townhall.com; former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif; and Charles Lane of The Washington Post.
So what's catching your eye this morning?