I loved your new essay collection The Givenness of Things. In one essay in particular, you write about the role of fear in American politics. Do you think that a sector of Americans are voting for candidates like Donald Trump because they exploit this fear?
Fear is a form of excitement, as the NRA, the horror movie industry and talk radio are well aware. It has been heavily marketed by Fox News. It disheartens me that so many people seem to have taken it on as a hobby or an addiction. There is a loss of personal dignity involved in this. Why do Americans want to cower and fret when they are as safe, except from their own guns, as any mortal population that has ever lived? Yes, mortal. We all face an ultimate peril, like everyone who has ever lived. But the fact is that this country is unimaginably powerful, in part because of its stability. Divisiveness is in fact dangerous. Encouraging hostility toward our own government or parts of our population, for the fun or the money involved, is deeply irresponsible.