THANK YOU for saying all of this. I'm of the opinion that none of this mess we're in as a country can be fixed until we have better mental health awareness and mental healthcare. All the economic policy changes, all the history textbook revisions (towards truth), etc. IN THE WORLD cannot fix what primes people's minds for such warped ideologies of hatred, anger, reality-denial, and intolerance in the first place.
An emotionally well person doesn't storm the Capitol, subscribe to conspiracy theories (usually), or angrily refuse to wear a simple f*cking mask in the middle of a pandemic. An emotionally well person is aware of what healthy communication looks like and therefore isn't *remotely* impressed by a verbally abusive strongman populist. A stable, secure individual isn't so easily convinced that the "Other" is the enemy, much less are they so easily convinced that the "Other" doesn't deserve, say, to eat or to receive healthcare... and so on.
The USA is going through a massive, collective, multi-faceted trauma lately, and all the upheaval, unrest, and uncertainty only seem to be compounding all the collective and individual trauma that this country never adequately processed. Across decades. And centuries. I don't know how we will ever be able to help everyone who needs help, but until we compassionately address people's emotional needs one-by-one, we cannot expect to achieve any sort of large-scale, lasting paradigm shifts in political opinion.
Finally: your question reminds me of the paradox in relationships with people who suffer from borderline personality disorder. When a person with BPD routinely behaves abusively, some mental health professionals ultimately suggest (if I understand correctly) that the healthiest thing for the *non*-BPD person to do is simply to detach from the relationship. Because, yes, validating a warped perspective is patently enabling, which is not healthy for either party. However, standing firm in your own truth tends to stoke even more anger, as doing so invalidates what the BPD person believes... so then they feel still more rejected and hurt. It's a very sad, Catch-22 cycle. I feel like there has to be a happy medium or a lateral solution. One that doesn't involve fighting, enabling, OR giving up on the person and walking away.
I feel like this whole country is facing a similar dilemma right now, and there is no obvious solution. Let's hope the mental health professionals share more of their invaluable wisdom with us, and soon.
Sorry for the long rant, just... yes. So much yes, Jessica! Thanks again for the read.