I recently watched the initial hearing this year on the new Murphy Bill and for the very first time I thought he might win.
I thought it looked like he had learned a key lesson. He did not lose last time because enough people did not love his bill. A lot of people did. He lost because too many people hated it. And what I saw was a conscious effort to dress basically the same bill in less hateful clothes. The Aot provision became something you would be paid extra for instead of something you would be punished for not having and the defining feature of something so many hated was blunted. What Murphy seems to have finally figured out is that many people want to do something on mental health legislation and if he wanted to be successful he had to do something about a poison pill that made it impossible for people to say yes.
The hearing seemed to be more self congratulatory than anything else. The harsh and attacking rhetoric, at least for this day, seemed muted and largely absent. The fingerprints of Dr. Torrey did not seem everywhere.
There are many good and important reasons to question this bill. In my mind it has more than one poison pill but I have questions about how well or how effectively the case will be made.
The problem is us. Many of the people against Murphy have differences with other people who are against Murphy and spend as much time arguing with each other as they do with Murphy.
My recent post about the cannibalism of mental health advocacy addressed this. One friend described mental health advocacy as little more than a circular firing squad and I wonder if there is not some truth on that.
I got a bunch of reactions from people on this post. Some identified as antipsychiatry and some did not but many common concerns were shared.
Murphy does not need to win. He just needs to wait on us to lose…
If we can’t stand each other what we stand for won’t matter….
We are arguing about places on a boat while doing nothing to stop it from sinking….
We can’t count on Murphy self destructing again….
How can we expect others to treat us fairly when we do no better with each other….
And my favorite:
If I can’t speak with the people I agree with with how can we speak to those that don’t…..