Great leaders and great political movements have a lot in common with the finest therapists and best psychotherapy_
1) They are relentlessly courageous about exploring that which might otherwise remain under cover-that which might otherwise be accepted as true without real inspection and understanding.
2) They practice a kind of quiet and reflective, yet insistent and intellectually piercing non-cooperation with liars and lies.
3) They are colorblind and blind to socioeconomic status. They see people as individuals with worthy thoughts and rich life stories, regardless of whether they are black or white, penniless or affluent.
4) They are non-violent, whenever any alternative exists, which it almost always does.
The high ground in the health care debate and the debate over whether we remain a capitalistic society or a socialistic one will be taken and held by that group that adopts these four principles.
Presently, I believe that the opponents of massive, unexamined changes in the health care system, a reduced level of autonomy as citizens and a powerful parental role for government in private industry and private affairs occupy that ground. Oddly and surprisingly, it is this group-the vocal opposition in town halls and at tea parties, the relatively well-heeled and well-healed group that activists have labeled insensitive in the past-that is exposing the limits of the present system to remain open to every idea and give every man and woman a fair hearing (not just those who claim to be disadvantaged or disenfranchised). It is this group that is being met with walls that urge them to just wait and see, or just shut up, or just go away.
So it is time to be doubly sure that the vocal opposition remains the loyal opposition.
It is time to be triply sure that the opposition remains non-violent.
The right to bear arms, which will also be under assault soon enough, should be held dear and married to the greatest reticence imaginable to use them.
We are all learning together that the tools of change that once opened doors to minorities and to disempowered and worthy peoples all over the world are the very same tools that can keep in place the worthy structural beams upon which our great society was built.
If leaders turn out to be reluctant listeners, protesters should speak in greater numbers, in more places, with more clarity and creativity and insistence, but never with hatred and never with fists clenched or one hand on a stick. Let the frustrated purveyors of falsehoods and enemies of freedom use those tactics. They always fail.
The psycho-political lessons learned from those shut out of the system must now be adopted to save the system.
There's something elegant and inevitable about that. The truth always wins-in public policy and in therapy.