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Sunday, August 30, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on May 22, 2010 8:19 AM PDT

This chapter is devoted to Harry Stack Sullivan, the brilliant developer of many of the techniques of interpersonal psychotherapy. The most important thing that I learned from him was that we are all more alike than otherwise.

Interpersonal therapy is a tool I use daily in psychotherapy. My job as a therapist and a physician is to help my patients realize which of their symptoms are treatable without drugs, which might be better borne without the benefits or harm of medicine and what the safest and most effective treatments are when medication is wanted or cannot be avoided if the symptoms are to be adequately addressed.

I cannot help a patient without engaging in a genuine conversation in which he or she lets down the guard that many of us carry around all or most of the time. When I am doing psychotherapy I am engaged in an intensely personal conversation that begins the first time we meet and that deepens over the course of the therapeutic relationship.

Establishing trust in such a relationship means allowing the person who is asking for help to know who I am as a person. My job is helping people deal with some of life’s most soul-shaking experiences. I help them to make wrenching decisions, to live with the consequences of things they cannot control and with decisions whose consequences control their lives. In the process of learning how to help others, I come to understand and change myself for the better as well.

I have learned to understand how men and women do terrible things and how their victims bear the selfish, cruel and destructive actions of others. What is more important, I have learned how to maintain my empathy for the victims of this mindless cruelty without losing myself in anger at the perpetrator. As a member of Soldiers For Peace International, I know that I have a mission that transcends anger and desire for revenge. I know from my work as a therapist that anger will only interfere with the mission of SFPI to end war.

I am determined to not let the suffering of victims of social injustice  to be in vain. To the extent that I am able, I will further the cause of establishing unchallenged democracy in America through my work to abolish corporate personhood. This is the only way to cure the insane society in which increasing numbers of citizens see themselves as separated from the rest, who they consider responsible for their misery. 

The cure for the depression, anxiety and anger of the average American is to Take Back America through a Constitutional amendment that would abolish corporate personhood and restore the power of government to the People. I cannot see another way to achieve this in the foreseeable future unless someone introduces an amendment on the floor of Congress that would abolish it. 

We must encourage candidates has the to have the courage and integrity to challenge sitting members of Congress to choose between corporations and the People. If even one candidate or sitting member of Congress is elected and follows through on the campaign promise to introduce such an amendment, we can use support for it as a litmus test of loyalty to the People in every subsequent election. This person can and must arise when the People speak with one voice and declare their willingness to stand behind such candidates. 

There is a way to end the partisan paralysis caused by the leaders of both major acting in the interest of the corporations over Americans citizens. We must learn to cast aside the self-imposed distinctions of left and right, party affiliations and religious fundamentalism  that translates into support for authoritarian "solutions" to problems affecting all of us. The corporatocracy is able to impose the  will of  the economic aristocracy because it promotes the divisions among the People of the United States in order to serve the interests of a minority over the both the individual citizen and the nation as a whole.

The only way to convince voters to take a chance on a candidate not chosen by the Puppetmasters of Congress is for those of us seeking fundamental change to win the support of both those who consider themselves Conservatives and those who proudly label themselves Liberals. The abolition of corporate personhood is the issue where the Left and Right will come round full circle. It is the issue that will remind us that we are all Americans and citizens of the world.

Americans  have a duty to remember the sacrifice of those who have died to preserve the Union and those who felt that they were defending their homeland from a foreign invader during the first American Civil War. In that time, Americans were torn between fighting for a slavery-based society or to remain a weakened but partially unified nation. We are in a similar time now, with each American deciding for him- or herself whether we were meant to be one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all or whether we are to submit to becoming slaves of corporate masters.Thus, we have come full circle from the time of the Founders, who risked and often gave their lives to fight the fascists of their day and establish the hope for democracy in America and the world.

I believe we are one nation under God, though I would defend the right of another to deny it. Whether for love of God, Man, family or self we must come to understand as Harry Stack Sullivan did that our commonalities are much more important than our differences. We should treasure those differences that give life its complex and delicious flavor to those who care to embrace it in all its joy and pain. We must not let our differences divide us.

This is how we End the Civil War and Finish the Revolution. If we dare to talk to each other in a spirit of understanding and respect, we will find that we have left the American Revolution incomplete. Too many of us fell asleep in history class but it is never too late to learn from the mistakes and successes of the past. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. 

Those who do not remember the instructive lessons of the past will be unable to re-establish democracy in a nation where the citizens of this once-great democratic Republic have allowed fascistic corporate control of government to take root and grow nearly out of control. Once rooted, the growth of fascism threatens to choke the life out of  the tree of Liberty.

We need to understand that our forefathers fought the Revolution only after the patriots in Boston decided that the forced import of British tea subsidized by the government was too much to bear. They knew that the King and leaders of the House of Lords profited from this cozy arrangement. In the meanwhile, the British government was casually destroying the burgeoning cottage tea industry and hurting the American shipping industry on which it depended. This was a government in which they were not represented and had little influence.

For three decades, too many Americans have dreamed our lives away. They have been enjoying the fruits of a false economy and have left us, themselves and all of our children to suffer the hangover from their drunken spree with our money. We began to wake up when we found out that we had to cover the bets that they bankers had made with our hard-earned money they expected to multiply by their imaginary winnings. 

The largest economy in the world has been and remains under the control of war-profiteering bankers with no loyalty to the United States, its citizens or the citizens of other nations who are dying for democracy. In its failure to prevent the rise of unchecked corporate power in the United States, its citizens have been complicit in the murder of millions of innocents throughout the world who are the victims of a war-based economy. 

When the middle class and the poor were treated with the respect and compassion that is the hallmark of America since its founding until 30 years ago, the economy thrived. The average American was and remains willfully ignorant of the fact that their standard of living depended on the suffering of others on distant shores. Now that the consequences of unbridled selfishness are devastating the American economy, those who cheered the myth of American exceptionalism must acknowledge the essential interdependence of all who depend on the fair distribution of the Earth's resources and the wealth that is generated only by the sweat of the worker.

The anger of the dying middle class is palpable and survivalists await a showdown at Armageddon. Fingers are being pointed everywhere by the perpetrators and the mobs of the unemployed and retired follow them in their blind anger. 

Survivalists don’t know when or where to shoot but are gripping their guns ever more tightly as they await the advent of the imaginary socialist government that they believe is coming to take them away. Fascists masquerading as conservatives have again spun myths that raises alarm bells in our reptilian brains. 

The hurt and angry average American must be shown that the consequence of valuing individual rights over collective responsibility is economic subjugation of all Americans. The result is the stripping of  the thin veneer of civilization from American society and rendering angry mobs resistant to reason. Only by talking to each other without fear of anger can Americans come together as one to Take Back America for the People.

Those who have not been following events and reading between the lines are easily swayed by corporate propaganda into believing that those of us preparing to Take Back America are naive dreamers, unrealistic and not to be listened to. 

These politicians and the partisan followers of both major and minor parties do not seem to realize that the power of a people united has been proven by the events of 1775. Fortunately, there are untold millions of us who do understand that we can and must Take Back America for the people.  They must understand that no political faction in the United States can do this alone.

The ranks of the Libertarians are swollen with angry and frightened citizens who believe they must protect their property and that of their friends and family at all costs. Those of us who know better must help them understand that it is this selfishness and tribal mentality that is at the root of our recent surrender of democracy.  To assure the individual Liberty that their leaders place over social responsibility, they must understand that in a Revolution, we all hang together or surely we will all hang separately. We can and must make common cause in restoring democracy to the United States.

It is easy to forget the responsibility of citizens of the United States to safeguard democracy through civic engagement that recognizes the inherent dignity of each of us and honors it with civil political  discourse. The Revolutionary period was one in which colonized  people took to the streets and taverns and debated amongst themselves whether they could and should take control of their own collective destiny. In the end, Common Sense prevailed and the revolutionaries seized the day and their own collective destiny.

The question of whether democracy was possible hinged on whether men and women are basically good or whether they are incapable of overlooking narrowly defined self-interest and working together for the common welfare. The majority came to believe that the better angels of our nature are stronger than the selfish part of our nature. Had the majority concluded as does the majority today that Man is inherently evil and war inevitable, the American experiment in democracy would never have been conducted. If we abandon the very belief that makes democracy possible, we abandon democracy itself. We must not fail to find and act on our common interest in this, its darkest day.

The essential assumption of the American experiment in democracy is that if men and women are inherently good, they can rand by right should rule themselves. Americans have for too long abdicated that responsibility to leaders more interested in wealth and power than in serving the interests of ordinary Americans. They must now understand that the wealthy as a class always puts its own interests over the masses because they are raised to see life as a game of Monopoly.

Once colonials made the momentous decision to forget their differences and to work to ensure that they and their children would be free, they launched a Revolution that has not yet been concluded. They fought a King and the corporatocracy of their day. at the risk not only of failure but their very lives. We must do no less than finish the battle to strip the power of the international corporate terrorists of today if we are to honor their sacrifices and those of the men and women after them who died defending our hard-won freedoms.

The first European Americans and the African Americans risked their lives, their property and their sacred honor to challenge the greatest military power of their day. Having been invaded and dominated by the mercenaries of the corporate Puppetmasters of the Eighteenth Century, they fought back with the conviction that God was on their side in the struggle to give birth to the uniquely American experience of democracy. 

If the United States is to become  the beacon of hope to the world that our Founders intended, then we must clean our own House and Senate to ensure that the last, best hope of Mankind does not perish from the Earth.

During the advent of the American Revolution, patriots  depended on support from the rich European nations who were alarmed at the rise of England that was threatening world domination. The French came to our aid thanks to the brilliant work of Thomas Jefferson, who wooed the French court while rooting for the demise of the French aristocracy. Benjamin Franklin also played an important role, playing the American rustic for the amusement of the sophisticates of the French court. Meanwhile, John Adams was judged too dour and quarrelsome to succeed at winning French support, though he was able to help the Dutch government to understand the benefits of standing with us against their rival.

Once victory was secured at Yorktown with the help of the French navy and the Marquis de Lafayette, the new nation turned inward. The Founding fathers counseled the avoidance of foreign entanglements while the new nation shored up its defenses. Jefferson was still in Paris when the French people took matters into their own hands in the bloody Revolution there. He unwisely opined that “The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots from time to time.”In this day, the only way to finish the Revolution is to abandon violence as a means to our end.

We are today living with the consequences of the widely held belief that democracy can somehow be established with violence. The foreign entanglements that are bankrupting the United States have been widely acknowledged, but the full costs to Americans and victims of war in other nations has yet to be appreciated by the masses of average Americans. 

The American Revolution will not be complete until the people of the United States abandon this belief and work to secure liberty from the corporatocracy through the democratic process and not through the threat of violence, which is the ultimate tool of the international corporate fascists that have seized control of our government. The Crisis is international and as at the beginning of the American Revolution, so is the solution.

It did not take long for leaders of the Federalist Party to look for conquest in the North through the acquisition of Canada through force. While the goal was to end British domination, the effect was to betray the French, whose compatriots supported us during the early stages of our own Revolution at a heavy cost to the French crown and the aristocracy of France.

Adams to his credit opposed this war of conquest and all Imperialist wars. Though he had already begun the counter-Revolution through the Alien and Sedition Act, the arch-conservative Adams had sided with his rival Jefferson and bravely taken on the leaders of his own Party in resisting an even more foolish war against the French in the early days of the American Republic. Neither was a perfect man, but both believed in their vision for America and it did not include Imperialist expansion, though the doctrine of Manifest Destiny proved them wrong.

With this history, it is remarkable that the American people have split under similar lines as those drawn in the early days of the Republic, when the issues are even more clearly apparent. today. We must remember that when government operates it must do so with the just consent of the governed. Stolen elections have undermined the legitimacy of the US government. It is the right and our duty of Americans to alter it, not foolishly abolish it. 

To study our history carefully we must not accept the Bolshevised version that the corporate media would have us accept. We must reject the self-serving myths that promote the interests of the wealthy and powerful among the hard-working citizens who truly believe that  their hard work will automatically bring the economic rewards the myths of their Masters have injected into their collective unconsciousness. 

Together we must reject the revised version now being considered by the Texas Textbook Commission, whose aim is to help us to forget the ideals upon which the United States was truly founded. In recalling our recent history, we may remember that we came together once to fight worldwide fascism and won.

Today’s world is more complex than at the time of the Founding, making it easier to deceive those who do not recognize the interconnectedness of and mutual respect for each other that is the essential assumption of democracy. 

Battle lines are being drawn between self-described liberals and conservatives to fight a new Civil War rather than finishing the Revolution. We cannot afford to fight each other. There is no place for the loser to go now that we span the continent and threaten to impose totalitarian control over the world, in league with soulless international corporatists who respect no national boundaries and care nothing for the peoples of these nations.

In war, there are no winners. We must end this most Uncivil War and finish the Revolution. In the name of all that is Holy I will not cease to fight for a future for our children and grandchildren. that is worthy of being our legacy to them. We are closer to victory than most appreciates precisely because the corporatocracy seems to be so close to the total economic enslavement of the citizens of this planet by the imposition of a fascist New World Order. The human race is waking up to its impending reckoning.

It is up to us now individually and collectively to choose what future the world will take. We can choose endless war and Hell on Earth, or choose to recognize that our mutual survival as a human civilization depends on recognizing our interdependence and acting together to eliminate the threat at its source.

Freedom will begin in America on the day that a Constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood is introduced on the floor of the Senate. Only then will the Puppets sitting in the Roman Senate realized that Americans swayed by the lies of the corporate media and these self-serving politicians have awoken will they realize the fate that awaits Kings and Queens when the abuse of their subjects becomes intolerable. Only then will these corrupt politicians understand that Rome is burning around them. while they were fiddling to the tune of their corporate Puppetmasters. They will then have the choice of putting out the fire by putting the  interests of the People before that of corporations. Should they fail to understand the power of a People united they themselves will be consumed by the fires of the Hell they have created.

In the immortal words of Neil Young:

Won't need no shadow man
runnin' the government.
Won't need no stinkin' WAR.

Won't need no haircut,
won't need no shoe shine
after the garden is gone.

After the garden is gone.
After the garden is gone.

What will people do
after the garden is gone?
What will people say
after the garden?

Won't need no strong man
walkin' through the night
to live a weak man's day.

Won't need no sunshine,
won't need no purple haze
after the garden is gone.

After the garden is gone.
After the garden is gone.

Where will people go
after the garden is gone?
What will people know
after the garden?

After the garden is gone.
After the garden is gone.

We live in the garden of Eden, yeah.
Don't know why we wanna tear the whole thing to the ground.
We live in the garden of Eden, yeah.
Don't know why we wanna tear the whole thing down.

And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden.

Rick Staggenborg, MD
Portland, Oregon

1 comment:

  1. I wrote this essay to promote the idea that if liberals remember that those who think of themselves as conservative are Americans also, we can rekindle a genuine patriotism that does not depend on fear of one's perceived enemies, which are traditionally determined by whoever holds power.

    Now that the government is clearly controlled by corporations, as highlighted by the Citizens United decision, it is easy to explain to Tea Partiers and other confused psuedo-conservatives that we have become a fascist government.

    Like Germany in 1936, our elected leaders have effectively propagandized to a dispirited and economically desperate people that America has a divine right to impose their Orwellian "democracy" on weaker nations, which of course will never give in, as our ancestors did not give in to British fascism in 1775.

    Republican and Blue Dog Democrats cynically state that our national destiny is "God's will," claim that we are a Christian nation but have so devastated the middle class here that our children often see little choice than to join the military to "earn" the right to a chance at success, when that opportunity should be a birthright of all Peoples of every nation.

    We are all Americans and citizens of the world. Ich bin eine Welter. Je suis de le Monde. Yo soy un persona del Mundo. All we need is love. We can save the world, if they only knew...


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