THE BLOG
07/30/2016 05:52 pm ET Updated Jul 31, 2017

Why Let Reality Get in the Way?: The Nostalgia of the Republicans VS the Cheerleading of the Democrats

Why Let Reality Get in the Way? : The Nostalgia of the Republicans VS the Cheerleading of the Democrats

I know: not all Democrats are for Hillary and not all Republicans are for Trump. But there are theme songs circulating that threaten to become the center of platforms that will blare at us ad nauseum during the next couple of months. You say something over and over again, even if it's not true and lots of people start to believe it. "The big lie", Hitler called it, and getting people to buy a product whether it's great or defective is what advertising and every other media outlet knows in terms of how to sell us anything and everything. Okay, I know, I'm getting dangerously close to accusing some people of acting like Nazis, and perhaps the timing is bad. After all, the contest is about who is the most patriotic, honest and effective Presidential nominee, so be careful how we tread.
It's okay for Republicans to sneer and Democrats and vice versa. But watch out about questioning your own because that could make others make you feel like a traitor. And then you could start feeling un-American and we know how bad that can be. There are trends, there are moods; there are flavors of the day. Yay for Bernie Sanders: he was the really honest one of them all (I do believe this). But now that he is supporting Hillary, the mottoes of the Party are changing. Never mind the Republican pessimism that seems to mix well with the nostalgia for the greatness of an America that was but is no longer (the Republicans). Never mind the heartbreaking statements of the working and nonworking poor who are not getting a fair shake (the Sanders supporters)
It's time for the true nature of our democracy (say the President and the Hillary followers, aka the Democratic Convention) to shine through. That would be the optimism on which our great government was founded and continues to thrive. We are decent people, we Americans. And we don't need to be insulted by Trump and company and made to feel negative upon our greatest nation on earth. We need to end hate and violence, because that's not who we really are.
I do not like the sides or the choices. And I'd love to see, in my own cockeyed optimism perhaps, a consensus about the state of the Union as quite mixed up but not in the way the Democrats and Republicans are telling us. This is a chance to question the propaganda of all sides of the equations before us.
Some initial suggestions for consideration:
1. The United States was always a tumultuous country. Its history included genocides of Native Americans who lived here before any of the Mayflower folk.
2. Slavery is not only a fact of generations of brutality and sadism, but has continued through racism that destroys lives, opportunities for integration, for achievement and real respect.
3. We have wars on our minds where we have been the aggressors, namely Iraq and Afghanistan, where we went in for reasons unstated and not yet investigated.
4. The facts about climate change are facts about climate change. And the fact that we cannot agree on what is fact and what is fiction is a symptom of serious lack of thinking and evaluating of scientific evidence. Paranoia seems to be higher ranking than facts and we seem to have lost interest in science.
5. Educational services all throughout the land need reform; no school that has art and music and gym cut should be considered passable.
6. The prison system needs to be confronted, with how many black people are part of it, and how in many parts of the country mental illness reigns among inmates and supervising personnel.
7. Loving our country doesn't mean accepting everything and saying it is great. Loving our children or our wives and husbands doesn't mean bypassing worries and denying their existence.
8. I don't see the reason to insist we are the greatest country on earth because it distracts us from working on problems.
9. We need to work on the degree of hatred among us so we are not continuing a civil war that is uncivil and unstated.
10. The slaves who built the White House were not happy and well fed, no matter what Bill O'Reilly says.

There is of course more, but my major suggestion is that the above-mentioned things wrong are solvable. It's something of a stretch, I realize, to suggest that what occurs in a therapy room can extend to the larger world, but I do think it's the case. I'm not suggesting some very large meetings in a cosmic therapy office, but rather that there are skills we can teach and learn, if we begin to be motivated.
The motivational aspect is not such a small thing so let me say this. Many people are tired of lies, and tired of trying to be politically and socially correct at all costs. A lot of people want the truth because in the end it's more relaxing not to have to make believe all the time.
There is one trick to this that might begin to make things easier. That would be starting to deal with feelings, the emotions under the attacks and poems of patriotism. We may all need coursework that could possibly be called, "Feelings as a Second Language" where we can get to know all the flavors of our own emotions as a start. Because let's face it, this election cycle is being fueled by rage and hate and superiority. We are all most likely being manipulated by one group or another that wants us to think they are the righteous.
I do agree that we are all in this together, even though I know it's a vague statement. I've seen the power of those who think, and who care, and who think outside the box. Let's elect the most sober, but keep up with getting out of the boxes that have been built to contain us.