Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To save a shortcut to an article to your desktop…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The way you save a shortcut to an article on your desktop depends on what internet browser (and device) you are using.

  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Holmes, D.E. (2019). Our Country ‘tis of We and Them: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Our Fractured American Identity. Am. Imago, 76(3):359-379.

(2019). American Imago, 76(3):359-379

Our Country ‘tis of We and Them: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Our Fractured American Identity

Dorothy Evans Holmes, Ph.D., ABPP, FABP

I have come to the reflections offered in this paper after considering numerous contrasting cultural events. I will offer psychodynamic understandings of such contrasts. Among the events which undergird my thinking are the following.

I wrote (Holmes, 2009) that Barack Obama's election was possible, in psychodynamic terms, for two reasons: his proud claiming of his own racial identity as a biracial man who identifies as African-American and the growth in our country's collective psyche in relation to race. Though the words, “When they go low, we go high,” were first voiced by Mrs. Obama near the end of his eight years in office, it was the spirit of that phrase that in 2008 lifted Mr. Obama and, temporarily, our country, out of the never-ending mire of racism.

Donald Trump's election to the Presidency in 2016 brought rallying calls and promises to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Concomitant with and quickly pursuant to those appeals, regressive trends in the American psyche and in our laws became evident, such as passage of SB4 in Texas (2017) to outlaw sanctuary cities and to permit open carry of firearms. SB4 was characterized by the ACLU as giving:

a green light to police officers in the state to investigate a person's immigration status during a routine traffic stop, based on how they look or sound, leading to widespread racial profiling, baseless scrutiny and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the article. PEP-Web provides full-text search of the complete articles for current and archive content, but only the abstracts are displayed for current content, due to contractual obligations with the journal publishers. For details on how to read the full text of 2016 and more current articles see the publishers official website.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.