It's been a while since we heard from him, so on behalf of those of you in his fan base, welcome back, Rick! I'll respond at the end, but to kick it off...

Here's Rick:

"As usual, I am trying to figure out the dance you and L56 are having. For us simpletons, can you, and L56, provide the readers with what you each think you have as a character flaw? And then, comment on each others representation of that very character flaw. This makes the examples much easier to wrap our hands around as opposed to the extreme examples that pervade this stream.

With regards to Obama not pursuing Bush + his officials, your take on that doesn't include the politics involved as well as the overall good that would bring. Ford had to pardon Nixon. Can you imagine what that would have done to our country if he didn't? The people responded loudly + clearly to the establishment, a Nixon was inevitable.

Like Ford, Obama is faced with bigger fish to fry. Some may be from the previous administration, but this, as you indicated, has been brewing for decades. A Bush was inevitable and so too was this mess. I just didn't think it would happen so soon! History tells us that this economic mess coupled with unethical people making the decisions(I'm thinking capt. of industry + lawmakers not Obama) is a recipe for a permanent downturn in our country. However, the U.S. has seen this before over the past 2 centuries, yet it continues to bounce back, somehow, to lead the world. Although I have little use for the Clinton Presidency because I thought he was capable of being one of the greatest presidents, what good did it do to impeach him + put him on trial?

The system allows for these individuals and these absurd actions and decisions that continue to plaque many ruling nations. The US is no different. Obama's energy should be spent on how we can prevent this from happening again. By prosecuting the transgressors of yesterday, doesn't address the real issue. That is not to say they shouldn't be prosecuted, but in times like these, looking back, in my opinion (Oh no! My own character flaw? ha-ha) doesn't serve the best interest of our country, its people and our president.

I never did get a response from your readers about my using the same tactics on my students as you use on your patients. I was surprised that you put a spin on it to say that I was calling your readers out. In reality, I was trying to find consistency in thought. If the readers agreed that they felt it necessary and constructive to have the teachers of their children call them "stupid", "idiots," etc. then there is consistency and I respect them, and you, for your honesty. I totally disagree with that approach, but at least it is honest. If they said, as I know most of the parents that I deal with would, it is ludicrous to treat my son/daughter that way, I agree.

Why do you think no one responded?"


Well, taking the first thing first, it would be quite a project to begin listing what I know are my flaws, Rick, but suffice it to say that anything that I do that is damaging to myself, someone else or the environment is a manifestation of a flaw in my character. (This is what I said in my dialogue with Loff56 last week, by the way.)

Taking the last thing next, I think you misunderstood a bit when we had the dialogue about telling someone that they're "stupid." I don't, as a matter of course, whether in my role as therapist or otherwise, off-handedly call people stupid. I do take into consideration a variety of factors before delivering that kind of punch, and I certainly wouldn't say that it is a regular tool I use as a therapist or teacher, nor would I advise any other therapist or teacher to wantonly do so. But there is a time and place for every kind of intervention, I have found, again, as long as it is not damaging anyone.

Finally, taking the middle subject last - on Obama and the crimes of the Bush administration, I am reprinting below a piece I wrote on this subject a bit ago that responds to your comments.

Thanks, Rick. Good to have you back!

Here's my piece:


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 made this point in the NY Times, in an op-ed piece, at the end of 2008, 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.

1 comment:

loff56 said...

For Rick's sake, regarding the debate that Pete and I had about character flaws. Personally, I didn't think the debate was about what's a flaw, what's not a flaw, who's got what flaw etc... but rather whether or not what we do (or more specifically what Obama doesn't do about Bush) is actually the result of a flaw or just a simple intellectual decision. My argument is that Pete, and other therapists alike, always run the risk of assessing an opinion that disagrees with their own as being a result of something inherently wrong with that individual as opposed to just being simply a different opinion. This is not a precise metaphor, but it's sort of like a lumberjack looking at a tree and imagining how many 2x4s he can get out of it, whereas you and I just see the tree for what it is - a tree.

Regarding the Obama-Bush dilemma at hand. One of the most poignant things at Obama's inauguration in my opinion was the deliberate staging of Obama walking the Bushes out the back of the Capital Building and to the helicopter. Obama then, instead of turning around to continue on with the festivities, stood on the steps for a good ten to fifteen minutes as he waited for the helicopter with the Bush family inside to take off. And it wasn't until the helicopter was a good distance into the horizon that Obama finally turned around and went on with the day. This was nearly a 30-45 minute event from start to finish that no other incoming president had ever done. No president has ever escorted the outgoing president out of the inauguration ceremony. And the way that Obama did it was so deliberate that to me it seemed that he subversively saying to America, "See folks, he's really gone. I saw to it that he left, and you can trust me that he will never be allowed to have any influence on our country ever again." I think Obama knew then and knows now how poisonous Bush was and is. And I think that if he truly thought that prosecuting him would be to the benefit of the country, he would do it.

If it were me in Obama's position, I wouldn't want to put Bush through that process and allow him once again to have the stage. I think what would happen is that Bush (and Cheney) would be brought up on charges which would give him the opportunity to have yet another forum to defend his actions, to espouse his poisonous policy and get the Rush Limbaughs of the world some more red meat to chew on. It would just further irritate the divide in this country that Bush created.

I think Obama's doing exactly what he should be doing with Bush, letting him and his ideology fade away into the history books. The Republican party is in such shambles right now because of this beheading, if you will, they have no choice but to reform and come back as something better. And even if we still disagree with them then, at least, (hopefully), they'll be improved. I say let him fade away. That's the worst punishment a politician can suffer anyway. Besides, I have no cathartic interest in seeing his dumb face on TV again.


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online