Well, this is a difficult one - I frequently tell my patients who have been wounded in their childhoods (which is all of them) that facing the wounds inflicted by one's parents, and the rage and pain that comes with them, does not necessarily mean confronting said parents in present time. Healing is a personal, inner process from which healthy behavior will follow, but confronting your old tormentors isn't always a practical or valuable thing. What's more important now is that you're not allowing yourself to be injured by them, or anyone else, any longer.

What's difficult for me about applying this approach to the national scene, however, or the collective as it were, is that very often by not confronting the damage done by perpetrators in positions of political, business, religious or other institutional leadership, we can inadvertently set the stage for further acting out and damage.

Bob Herbert makes this point today in the NY Times, in an op-ed piece entitled: "ADD UP THE DAMAGE."
Herbert starts out by saying: "When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don’t think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town. There should be a great hue and cry, a loud, collective angry howl, demonstrations with signs and bullhorns and fiery speeches, over the damage he’s done to this country."

Well, I agree with Bob, but I actually think more needs to be done than howling in order for the collective consciousness to heal from the crimes of our leaders. When Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for the high crimes that led to his resignation, the country was not able to heal its collective wounds from being so betrayed by a leader in high office. If George Bush, Dick Cheney and many others who committed very high crimes indeed, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, are allowed to go off unaccountable except to the annals of history, our collective psyches will not be able to heal. I do truly feel that for Barack Obama to bring the nation together in the way he is inclined to, he must see to it that his Justice Department holds the previous administration accountable for the damage it has inflicted.

Here's a bit more from Bob Herbert:

"The catalog of Mr. Bushes' transgressions against the nation’s interests — sins of commission and omission — would keep Mr. Bush in a confessional for the rest of his life. Don’t hold your breath. He’s hardly the contrite sort. He told ABC’s Charlie Gibson: 'I don’t spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don’t worry about long-term history, either, since I’m not going to be around to read it."

Well, Mr. Bush, we actually cannot leave you to a history you won't be interested in or around to read. You are now our responsibility.

No comments:


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online