Improving our political needs to happen

Some of my clients - more than ever, by the way - come with politics as the primary source of their anxieties.  Mostly because they are kind Americans who are just trying to get along in today's world.

I woke today to C-SPAN and a show where the speaker lets callers call in on the phone.  Bernie Sanders just announced his candidacy for president this week, and that was the topic.

It needs to be said: one of the downsides of the way we as Americans run our political discourse is the tendency of people to get competitive instead of cooperative.  What that does to people's arguments is interesting: it takes away real discussions and becomes arguments or debates.  This is frustrating to myself and I'm sure to many.

For example, one caller spoke of how 'socialism' has always failed and 'capitalism' has never failed.  Not so fast.

Another talked of Bernie's time as mayor and how a college his wife ran there failed and the roads were real bad, I guess suggesting Bernie's mayoral skills were poor.

Now some will say to me: Barb, that's the point.  But I would say: we can handle our political discourse in any way we choose.  The competitive way is win-lose.  How does that look: capitalism is king and socialism is a dud.  But what about win-win for the people.  How would that look: some aspects of capitalism I like, some I don't.  Some aspects of socialism I like, some I don't.

Why is that so hard for people to acknowledge?  It goes back to an inability to see that nature and nurture are BOTH correct. Reality is not either or it's both and and.  It goes back to what I teach in cognitive behavioral therapy called 'distorted' thinking.  Yes, black and white thinking, to be exact.

More to come on this juicy topic and I hope ways to talk about politics with your relatives and in the world that decreases your anxiety.