To be honest, it's almost impossible to become a US president without getting a lot of blood on your hands. It comes with the territory. Those who do not want to deal with all of this gore—which never comes off—need not apply. We do not have the most expensive military in human history for nothing. Nevertheless, the highest office in the world is not exceptional in this respect. The nation state itself is defined by the monopolization of violence. This is its ontology. There is no heaven anywhere on earth. But, for what it's worth, many of us do feel powerfully that we can make, step by step, progress to such a place. It is possible to imagine a world that has freedom from fear and want. FDR did. And so did Norman Rockell.

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A major part of the American enterprise, particularly on the left, has been about making and sustaining enough political space for this kind of Kingdom dreaming. Without the hope—the image of our moral improvement—many could not live with the blood on the hands of their leaders. Sarah Palin famously described this political imaginary, which is not available to many people of color, as the "hopey, changey thing."

Now recall Paul Krugman's recent and rather weak piece in the New York Times, "The Fall of American Empire." (My take on the process is, in my opinion, better.) Krugman went on and on about "systematic rejection of longstanding American values" (natural goodness, aspiring to do and be more, making real progress, and so on), and that these "values... actually made America great." Krugman also wrote that the US's "role in the world was always about more than money and guns." (A brazen statement indeed.) It was really "about ideals" that "America stood for... something larger than itself—for freedom, human rights and the rule of law as universal principles." This is that tune: "...making heaven a place on earth."

Now match Krugman's emotional column, and also what Hollywood star Kevin Costner said on The View on Tuesday (“You know, this is a hard thing to say, but I don't—I'm not recognizing America right now”), with the new image on the cover of Time Magazine (Trump standing and smirking as a brown baby cries), and we have a very good idea of what happened to the US this week. The country has been traumatized. But how and why?

Trump was able to inflict mass psychic damage by violently (or by the state-sponsored emotional terrorism of) closing the space for American heaven-on-earth dreaming. This shutdown forced many citizens to see, to live with, just the blood on the hands of a military Empire. The images of kids being ripped from their parents—the sound of kids crying in cages—also ripped away the emotional space that makes another day in the US possible. "We’ve been about more, we can be about more and right now we are acting really small,” said Costner on The View. He was speaking for millions who were at that moment demanding and even crying for the restoration of the space that makes dreams of a heaven on earth remotely possible. That's the big America Costner was talking about.

The absence of this space was and still is traumatizing for not only Democrats, but an unusually large number of Republicans. Only about 25 percent of Americans, almost all of whom are white, were down with the brown kids in cages ("womp womp"). Trump would not have changed his tune if making a heaven on earth was not such a big deal for the mental health of so many voters.

The damage is so considerable, that Trump sent his wife to Texas to visit a detention center and do damage control. The pussy grabber may never recover from this week. The kids in cages might be his undoing. What was he thinking? Americans need their dreams.