There’s been a lot to unpack in the last few weeks. First off who knew when I named my kitten Ginsburg back in July her namesake would pass so soon. My wife cried. Granted she cries easily. But not usually about politics. We both have broken down at some point over the last four years of this hell.
My breaking point was the murders this year and my Black clients having the life sucked out of them. My wife’s was Ginsburg. May she rest in peace.
I watched the debate. All 90 soul sucking minutes of it. Then I stayed up until about 1 or 2 AM contemplating.
Then I posted on FB that I was most horrified by his inability to condemn white supremacy. It was one sentence. The follow up sentence stated generally to all people on my feed that if they somehow had snuck through since 2016 now was the time to unfriend me. Because I would not tolerate supporters of #45 on my feed.
Even the quiet ones.
Some one responded…which I love…that I shouldn’t bring emotion into politics.
I’ve been saying it since 2016. I’ll bring my emotion anywhere I freaking want. She tried to shame me for having emotion involved in calling out racism.
First off everyone needs to watch Hamilton and memorize the line he says to Burr, “Stop the niceties I’d rather be called divisive than indecisive!” Because I heard that line and it resonated hard within me. That’s essentially how I live my life. And I’ve been told since I could talk that I’m too opinionated. Too passionate about causes. Well so was Alexander Hamilton.
I feel emotion around white supremacy. I feel emotion around racism. I feel emotion around homophobia and transphobia. I think there is something wrong with you if you do not feel emotion around these issues.
Emotion is not required where complete objectivity is. But if I’m stating I disagree with white supremacy and I’m upset and disgusted that our current president seems incapable of stating the same…then I’m entitled to emotion around that.
People are entitled to feel emotion around the mishandling of Breonna Taylor’s case. We actually don’t need permission from any one to feel angry, betrayed, or gut-wrenchingly grieved because of a justice system that is incredibly flawed and favors white people.
I don’t need permission to feel scared for our future. I don’t need permission and I don’t need advice telling me to take emotion out of my political beliefs. Because today, here and now, political beliefs have taken the form of basic human rights.
Being Queer is not safe. Being Black is not safe. Being an immigrant is not safe. Because we have an administration who says it’s okay for us to be marginalized and criminalized and assaulted and fired and tossed aside.
I’m going to feel fear, anger, betrayal, grief, fear, and so much more; and to those people who are not minorities you have no right to dictate how we are allowed to feel right now. You also are not allowed to dictate how we react. As the white supremacists in this country so frequently point out…it’s a free country. If I want to say I’m angry that there are white supremacists enabled by our administration I’m going to say it and I’m going to feel it.
I’m in a few of therapy/mental health professional groups on FB. People are freaking out because therapists are talking politics. Therapists are all shaming each other for talking about politics and then other therapists are like how can we not be talking politics? Then one accused me of “letting your underwear show” if I was making my political beliefs known to clients.
I’m still unclear where the underwear reference came from. I mean I understand it was an analogy but poor taste. She was a white woman who posted “Why can’t we just stick to talking about Mommy and therapist issues?” In a group of mom/mental health professionals. I, of course, mentioned my cat Ginsburg and made a lovely analogy without mentioning body parts. Essentially pointing our her privilege. She got a little salty that’s when the underwear comment came out.
My point was that I do not tell people who I vote for. I do not tell people I am a Democrat. I do not tolerate racism, homophobia, or transphobia in my office. And I don’t have the speech impediment that impedes our president. I can actually state that I don’t agree with white supremacists or their beliefs. It flows quite easily from my lips. If it didn’t…then I’d likely be a white supremacist.
I had an issue with a client. They were treated horribly at a local hospital because of their race. I pursued the medical director for two weeks and got him on the phone. He pulled up the chart and I explained the situation and he agreed it was absolutely inappropriate care based out of racism.
He was going to actually do something about it. My client was grateful that I was an ally. I didn’t want the gratitude though. I want our system to do better. I told the medical director I never wanted to make a call like this again. Fix this. Stop this.
If you don’t believe that white supremacy is a problem then you likely have no exposure to the African American community. That’s on you my friend. Fix it.
My point to this post is to stop telling people not to feel emotion in politics. When politics revolve around race and discrimination; people are allowed to feel. If you feel nothing then I’d question your humanity.
My other point is that politics is invading every aspect of our lives. If you work in mental health during a pandemic during the worst election ever and you work with minorities or anyone with compassion and empathy…you will have to hear about politics. You will have to decide how you respond. I’m not here to tell you how. I think it’s case by case, minute by minute, client by client. Definitely not a one size fits all approach.
But to just shut it down and say we shouldn’t talk about it and we shouldn’t feel about it…that’s messed up. That’s your privilege showing and you’ve likely got a lot you need to start unpacking.
****In the midst of the loss of RBG we had family pics taken, and my sons went to the closet and took out my Dad’s ties. We didn’t mention them wearing ties at all. But they seemed to instinctively remember that we had the ties and that they should wear them for pictures. It was a touching tribute that grounded me. Throughout the pandemic the grief for the loss of my Dad has ebbed and flowed as grief does. That day and those photos are bittersweet. Bitter for the loss of him, and sweet for the remembrance.****