Hi Everyone, I hope this finds you well and thriving. I’m sorry I haven’t written for a few weeks but after the overwhelmingly positive response I received from my Hometown Seductress blog, I’ve been feeling too sweet and proud of myself to enter back into the dark hole of the political arena. Today, however, the urgency of this time in history is upon me, so I will lay down my soft sweet self to communicate what I feel and see in the final days of this election.
Before I do, I want to first take a moment to acknowledge all of the candidates for how truly brave – or maybe really insane – they and their families are to enter into the tireless world of politics. It takes so much chutzpah (an old Yiddish term meaning guts) to speak your truth and stand for what you believe in. On average, any time you take a strong position, you can be sure that half the people will love you and half the people will hate you. Even our beloved Mahatma Gandhi and the great crusader Dr. Martin Luther King were intensely hated by their detractors. No matter what change you stand for, odds are that there will be some who think you’re the greatest, brightest and best and others who will project their righteousness and hatred on to you, point fingers at you and slice you into bits. Do they do this because they are evil? Some. But most do it just because they believe in what they stand for. And the reality, whether we like it or not, is that if we want a better world, we have to be willing to stand out and get people to listen and pay attention to us. We must communicate our views with passion and gusto as you’ve seen all of our candidates do. Most of you saw me do it a few weeks ago and, as is to be expected, some people loved me for speaking my truth while others hated me for it. Years ago, when I was still too scared of all of you, I used to want to protect myself from people’s bitter words and opinions but now I applaud them and have a deep appreciation for all who take the risk and play the game.
Dr. Martin Luther King, my hero, said, "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people." This is true once again. So now, in that spirit, I will break my silence and speak my truth.
America is suffering, dying inside, and aching for a new future. We are a nation divided by the very process that has made us world leaders and pioneers of democracy. We are a wounded nation in denial of all the ways in which we have failed, not just economically but in acting as an honorable and civilized society. We have failed in taking care of our poor, our homeless, our veterans, our children, our planet, and ourselves. We are no longer role models for integrity, peace and justice for all, but instead we have become a country that is disliked by many and blamed for the greatest economic crash since the Great Depression.
My friends, we are suffering from the dis-ease of denial. People’s spirits are dying, the resignation is mounting, the dropout rate is exploding, the incarceration rate is skyrocketing, drug abuse is rampant, gun violence is killing our youth, teen pregnancy is on the rise, divorce rates are escalating, senseless litigation is prevalent, and our national debt appears insurmountable. We are on a course that may never be reversed. We are a nation seized by our wounded ego’s greed and in the grips of an internal battle that is so potentially devastating that few of us can really fathom what might lie ahead.
So now, if we want to get out of it, we must tell the truth. We must wake up from the trance of denial and realize we have been tricked, both by the people we trusted to run our country and by the major institutions that we all rely on in our daily lives. Now is the time we must be courageous and stand up for ourselves in ways that none of us have before. We must break out of denial and admit that we are suffering from an epidemic of narcissism. None of us will go unscathed. We are all suffering from one of the most difficult complexes we’ve ever had to face. We are plagued by what I will call "Battered Nation Syndrome."
Battered Nation Syndrome can be likened to Battered Women’s Syndrome, a condition you might be familiar with. A woman is in a physically or psychologically abusive relationship but can’t seem to admit how serious it is and, because of the abuse and the fear that has been built up in her over time, she can’t seem to muster up the strength or resources to break free from her perpetrator. Most of us have been perplexed by people who can’t seem to see the dire circumstances they are in and we have all stood on the sidelines and said "Just leave!" But we don’t understand that when you are in the grip of this dehumanizing syndrome, you have been conditioned over time to not believe the reality you are in. People who suffer from abuse have had their self-esteem chiseled away so slowly they don’t even know how badly beaten down they’ve been or how bad their circumstances really are.
I am asserting that the same dynamic that occurs in Battered Women’s Syndrome has happened right here in America, thus the birth of the Battered Nation Syndrome. So how did we get here? Just eight years ago, we, as a country, entered into a relationship with George W. Bush. Some of us were happy about it and some of us felt like we had absolutely no say in the matter but regardless, we tried to adapt. But like any abusive relationship, over time, we found ourselves being deceived, pushed around, ignored, disrespected and psychologically abused.
After the greatest terrorist attack in our nation’s history, we were told to go shopping and spend our money and then we were told to go to war. "Trust me," they cried. And so we did. We bought houses, built businesses based on the American Dream, and trusted that our public representatives were out to protect us. And then one day, we woke up and found out that our young Americans were being killed, our bank accounts were being emptied, our children’s futures were being compromised, America was practically bankrupt, and there is little hope for us to get out of the mess we now find ourselves in.
Like the battered woman who doesn’t know what else to do, we tried to find something to comfort us. We ate, we drank, we slept, we spent hours watching mindless TV, we went shopping, we fed our misery by watching the news. But we still couldn’t cover up our pain. We discovered we were in an abusive relationship and, little by little, we were conditioned, whether we like it or not, to endure abuse, to have our rights taken away, to have our financial wealth taken away, to have our voice shut down. That’s how the abuser works — they train us to live in fear. Unknowingly, our minds and our perspectives became more twisted each day.
But today, in full view of the disastrous and devious tricks of our abusers, many of us feel angry and we’re not going to take it anymore! We know our president and all his cronies in the current Republican administration misbehaved, but some are still hanging on to the hope that they aren’t really that bad, that they have changed, that they will do better next time, that they didn’t mean to take all the money and ignore the red flags that have been waving at them the last 48 months saying, "If we don’t stop the leakage and overspending, we will be in deep trouble." They didn’t mean to beat up and kill all those men, women and children. Really, they didn’t mean it — they told us they were doing it for our own good! And, by the way, most batterers don’t mean it either — they just can’t stop themselves.
But we must stop them. In the next five days, we must help those who are too mired in the abuse of the Republican administration to get out. We must remind them that they have been through this before and that the bully, even if wrapped in a different persona, is still there, alive and well, waiting to lure them in just one more time. "Trust me," he smiles, "I will be better next time. I’m not the same as the guy I supported 90% of the time. Come, come, little girl. If you go out and try dating that new guy (Obama), he won’t love you like I will. He won’t pay your bills and take care of you. I know there’s no money in our bank account but it’s coming soon, I promise. You love me honey. I know you do." This is how the bully reacts when the battered woman tries to move on.
People are always asking me, Why would this person (my mother, my brother, my co-worker, etc.) vote for McCain? Why would they want another Republican in office? Why would they want to give power to someone who believes in reversing women’s rights? Why would they want to elect somebody who voted with Bush 90% of the time (a fact McCain himself doesn’t even dispute)? You know why? They want it because they don’t know any better. They’re battered.
Today we are charged with bringing light to those who believe John McCain and Sarah Palin will be any different than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We must assume that they only believe this because they are suffering from Battered Nation Syndrome. We have to help them see that they are being slowly cooked, like the frog in the pot of cold water over an open flame who stays there even as the water gets hotter and hotter until he boils to death because he doesn’t realize what is happening. He, like so many Americans, doesn’t even know that he is in dangerous territory and his life is going to end.
To heal our collective shadow, we must step out of denial and admit we have bullied other nations to the point that we have destabilized the world’s financial markets, all the while giving money to and rewarding the very people who have taken away our safety net. We are being financed by China and fueled by countries that hate us. We must admit that another four years of a Republican administration will leave us so emotionally, psychologically, economically, environmentally, and psychically battered that we may never get out.
What will we have to do to wake up in the next five days to ensure we will not be beaten up again? Each of us in these final days must fight to get out of the abusive relationship we’re in. We must fight like we are saving not just our own lives but the lives of hundreds of millions of women, men, and children around the globe. We must fight because bullies are predators and will do anything to win.
Go, baby, go! Go to the polls, go to the phone banks, go to your neighbors — go to whatever lengths are necessary to ensure that there will never come a time when we will endure this kind of abuse again. Stand for the emotional, spiritual and financial future of our children and snap someone out of the Battered Nation Syndrome today.
With love, respect and blessings,