Get into politics like your life depends on it…. It does

Get into politics like your life depends on it….. It does.  ( I think that is a quote from disability advocate Justin Dart.)

And it  does. It really does.

I listened to Donald Trump make fun of a newspaper reporter with a physical disability because the reporter had criticized him. I have listened to him make comment after comment that not that long ago would have been labeled as hate speech and been political suicide applauded and hailed by crowds as being the voice of truth,  the voice of real America,  and their choice for president.   I have listened to Republicans trying to defeat him by trying to out-Trump  him.  

The  biggest problem is not just Trump, or Carson or Rubio or Cruz.   The biggest problem is that they have obviously touched the emotions of so many people.   They have made hate respectable again.   They have made rage, prejudice,  and violence seem almost common sense to do many people.   They have made the destruction of different people,  different ideas,  different groups,  different values,  and different experiences into a political platform.

I am 64 years old and have known 10 presidents.   I have seen many people I opposed win.   For  the  very first time I am afraid that the candidacy of some people threatens the fabric of  this country.   For the very first time I fear that the results of an election may threaten my life,  the life of my wife,  the life of my children,   most of the ideals and values I hold dear and  in the end the life and  well being of my country.

The Republicans are like the little boy who begged his parents to let him raise the cute little baby alligator only to find out later that gators grow big and are soon no longer content with table scraps. Soon it is not clear who is whose pet.

It seems a door has been opened and it is not clear what it is a door to. My fear is more than where we are at. It is where we are going.

Another quote from Dart :

I call for solidarity among all who love justice, all who love life, to create a revolution that will empower every single human being to govern his or her life, to govern the society and to be fully productive of life quality for self and for all.

That is not the door we have opened.

Much of the advocacy I have been involved in has been in one way or another associated with mental health. I have for example long been involved in speaking against the Murphy Bill for reasons touched on many times in this blog. I don’t think it makes things better. I don’t think it will make life better for people with mental health issues. I think it’s potential for harm to the people it claims to help is real and substantial. I think the fight to defeat it is one of the most important things anyone can be involved in.

But…..

I think anything that affects poverty is a mental health issue too….

I think anything that affects hunger is a mental health issue too….

I think anything that affects homelessness is a mental health issue too.

I think anything that affects peace is a mental health issue too.

I think anything that affects health is a mental health issue too.

I think anything that affects justice is a mental health issue too.

I think anything that affects violence is a mental health issue too.

I think anything that affects discrimination, and prejudice and basic fairness is a mental health issue too.

I think mental health issues are about the chance for a better, happier and more meaningful life and many things are in some frame of reference “mental health issues.”

It does not mean the Murphy Bill is any less a problem or any less important. It is not. What I do mean is that many other things speak to or relate to the injury, the stress, the trauma, the burdens that ordinary people face and impact their chance to find a better life. Speak for life. We can all make a difference. We can.

Become involved in politics like your life depends on it…. It does! “

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3 thoughts on “Get into politics like your life depends on it…. It does”

  1. Great article. I was outraged when I saw Trump make fun of the young man who is disabled.. I have a special needs teenage daughter and I have a mental illness. Every day is a new challenge for me. I work as a Peer Support Specialist and I love it. The Murphy bill scares me. I think it is taking a huge step backwards in time. I will not support any political that is for this bill.

  2. Excellent post Larry! It has resonance for health in general – the examples you gave are the social determinants of health and it will take political action to defeat the inequities of healthcare in our country. Politics is not a dirty word- government is how we define our responsibilities to each other for the common good.

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