I want to start off by saying that I don’t watch TV news. It is my goal to be done with paid TV by the end of the year. However I am very well informed of the unparalleled, distressing, and traumatic times we have lived through over the past week. Through videos, photos, first hand accounts, discussion, as well as my own research and insights — I develop a perspective on life. I normally would not touch a matter that is seemingly political in one of my weekly briefings, but the matter at hand squarely intersects with my domain — technology and its use or misuse.
Like many of you, I have gone through a whole gamut of emotions since January 6th. Ultimately, I have tried to draw connections to the past and develop a balanced perspective. Reflecting on the past week and really the past four years, I wrote what amounted to a 6-page essay over the weekend. The problem is that it is not at the extreme end of either current major political philosophy and therefore, I don’t think anyone would publish it. The problem with our TV news is that “Network A” only likes to pander to their viewers to mainly report on the extreme elements of the philosophy (and its practitioners) that they disagree with. “Network B”, likewise, only likes to pander to their viewers to mainly report on the extreme elements of the philosophy (and its practitioners) that they disagree with. It’s ratings driven. It’s sensational. By and large the American people eat, sleep, and drink it all day long. I need to be on a diet, but that’s not the diet I want to be on.
The past four years of our American lives have been an intensely political time with strong emotions. This may surprise you if you have never had these interactions with me, but I would say that in this stretch of time clients have expressed some sort of political frustration 30 to 40% of the time. I have learned to be a good listener. At an appointment a client just said to me today, “I should just lay on a couch when you come over. You are like a computer psychologist.” Sometimes I just smile and nod. I try to make clients feel comfortable. Such a response should not signify agreement (from me or anyone in life), but I want to say that I am grateful for hiring me and I accept you sharing your frustration and pain. A little under 10 years ago, I was accepted to a Professional Counseling Master’s program. I ultimately dropped out, but I think I would have made a very compassionate psychotherapist. I try to incorporate those therapeutic skills and the heart of a teacher (another career I didn’t quite succeed at LOL) in my client interactions whenever possible. It’s what makes our relationship so unique. I want to leave a legacy of changed and improved lives.
It takes two to tango. The tides flow in and out. I think to have true healing in unity in this country (or even a country like Indonesia where there is also a lot of division right now), we have to take time to listen to what others on the completely opposite side of the spectrum have to say. We need to break bread and have meaningful dialog. The organizing and actions of mob violence in all forms that we have seen on the American landscape over the past year are illegal and should be prosecuted. However, when you step away from the fringes of both political extremes, you see neighbors, co-workers, and family members who just want to peacefully live their lives. On numerous fronts, there a lot of hurt people out there. (Something I learned from the therapeutic arena is…) Hurt people, hurt people. I’ll say it again: hurt people, hurt people!
So we have to decide, what do we want our legacy to be? One thing is for certain, I am not letting mine be defined by the fringes of society or any TV network.
Thank you for letting me share this message. I’ll step off my soapbox now.