by Terry Sterrenberg
“Now Is The Time: Healthcare For Everybody” is really the rallying cry these days. Healthcare activists all over the country are coming through in a big way. It is amazing what we have done this past year and it is not yet done. To be a part of it has been more than invigorating. I literally feel that I have come back to life in some very real ways and the pit in my stomach that started right after the election last year has begun to refill. However, even though I have new faith in the American people not to jump off the sinking ship, I am still living in the disillusionment of what this country is and has become and the unbelievable spin of those in power who create “alternate facts” and “Truth”.
Some would say that the creation of this alternate “truth” is evidence of mental illness itself. It is usually called being delusional, i.e. living in your own reality and not being able to distinguish what is real from what is not. What is truth to one person can appear to be delusional to the rest of us, particularly if the delusional person is not willing or able to let in new information or to accept all the information that is available. Does this remind you of anyone in your life? In public office? Once you think you have the “truth”, it can be a lot like closing your mind and “getting stuck on an idea”. After all, truth is the ultimate, once you have it no further discovery is possible.
Getting stuck on a particular idea is considered in some circles to be a lagging cognitive skill. Being adaptable when necessary, changing one’s mind, entertaining new ideas and compromising are considered evolutionary steps in the development of human beings. These abilities are what make negotiating, problem-solving, and establishing and keeping agreements possible. Without them, individuals (presidents), groups, and political parties become stalemated. Breaking the deadlock requires the skills of dialoguing and discussing.
Part of my truth is that being respectful and kind, solving problems, and trying to ensure that everyone has what they need in life is better than hoarding things and money, calling people names, and ripping people off. Strangely when people call me names and speak disrespectfully to me I don’t really want to understand their point of view. I believe this is true of all of us no matter what political party. There is of course a whole list of qualities and conditions that most of us can agree upon that makes life better. Bringing people together, and /or living among people who treat each other with respect, create these conditions, and who have these qualities creates affinity and life for everyone.
Most truth is completely subjective. And because of this, we can chose our truth at any particular moment. Why not chose a truth that makes life better – that creates healthcare and prosperity for everyone – rather than chose a truth that separates and vilifies people?
My mother used to say, “Who you hang around with makes a difference”. I certainly know that finding others who share my truth makes my life worth living. I have found my common truth in the community of healthcare advocates over the years. You folks are some of the most heart centered and giving people in the world and I thank you for your friendship.
Stuck on an idea? The idea of making healthcare a reality for every person? That’s a delusion (truth) I can live with.