Polarization and Distrust — A One-Two Punch to Morale

Marie Trout
3 min readMar 29, 2020

Underlying our predicament at the moment, is the fact that as before we had to self-isolate, we were already isolated in groups that are deeply suspicious of each other.

It is difficult to find common purpose and pull together as a group, when we for years have been telling ourselves and each other that we are playing on different teams.

Having leaders that encourage division, only fuels the fire.

To pull through difficult times as a society, feeling bonded together with a common purpose is essential.

According to Mirriam-Webster, morale is:

a: the mental and emotional condition (as of enthusiasm, confidence, or loyalty) of an individual or group with regard to the function or tasks at hand.

b: a sense of common purpose with respect to a group.

c: the level of individual psychological well-being based on such factors as a sense of purpose and confidence in the future

When faced with difficult situations as a society, morale lives in the stories we tell ourselves and each other about why our sacrifices are worth it.

Morale was the societal story that backed up the soldiers who fought Naziism in WWII. And the story that fractured for the soldiers who fought in Vietnam.

Since, the late 1960s in the US, it is often seen as a special kind of naivete to respond to a call for national or international morale.

Morale exists in factions that correspond with our beliefs. There is high enthusiasm for fighting the good fight within these groups internally. But often, each camp deeply suspects the motives of another.

Thus, distrust in anything collective or societal abounds. Distrust in science, distrust in leadership, distrust in (the other) half of the country, and distrust in international alliances.

With time on our hands, and struggling in the net of our captivity, self-proclaimed social media celebrities blast forth with opinions and conspiracy theories that range from the plausible to the totally ridiculous.

Everyone has a bullhorn, and uses it to disseminate their beliefs. They present “evidence” that confirms…

Marie Trout

Author “The Blues — Why it Still Hurts so Good,” artist manager. PhD Wisdom Studies. Contributor: The Daily Beast, The Bern Report, Classic Rock Blues Magazine.