Our monthly blog feature from MSP President, Dr. Diane Blau, discussing what’s on her mind and in her heart regarding MSP and the field of professional psychology.
In communicating with others, playing it safe means avoidance of topics relating to religion and politics. It is these two topics that have the most potential for increased heart rates and raised voices in common conversation. That said, “Who do you think will win the presidential nomination?” or “Did you see that last debate?” seem to be present in almost every conversation lately. Everyone is talking about politics.
I have never been one to watch, so carefully, an unfolding political scene. But to my surprise, this one captivates me. The candidates are like characters in an unfolding tragic-comedy, their larger-than-life personalities and highly animated expressions bursting through the screen. I eagerly watch for the next adventurous twist in the drama. This is a real life soap opera. A surprise around every corner, a new accusation, a slur, a joke made at someone’s expense, a discovery of past ills. I just do not know what will come next and wait, horribly fascinated for what will unfold in the next 24 hour news cycle.
I do realize that the candidates, ever defensive and attacking, bring out the worst and display the poorest examples of human interaction. In moments of reflection, I wonder what this looks like to impressionable youth, first time voters, to those that hold the United States as an iconic example of truth, freedom and liberty. How shrill these voices must sound to their sensitive ears.
Further, when I consider the toll that this elongated political campaign can extract, I awaken to a frightening realization. What we are witnessing is obnoxious and shameful. It is one thing to be an interested spectator of political theater, but quite another to believe that these individuals represent the foundational values of our country. Somehow we must revive respect, stimulate empathy and understanding, and inspire compassion and care. We need to assert voices of reason and responsibility encourage honesty and authentic communication and promote the healthy and positive potential that exists in each of us. I think our future depends on it.