Apes have them. Birds have them (maybe). Let’s build a hierarchy. Or should we flatten it to build a parking lot?
Existential “meaning” is partly the telling of a story featuring ourselves that is available and consistent with our higher-level representations of the world. It is not, generally, rational; it is more a narrative correlated with a feeling of “selfness” and “correctness”.
Toxic sentiment in society doesn’t arise from a vacuum. History shows that it tends to follow a perceived threat to a way of live, a reaction to change. You cannot remove the toxicity without addressing the underlying issues. But what are these?