The Truth About the South and Democrats

 

Let’s Get Real

I was born in Queens, New York and grew up around New York. I went to college in Michigan and in 1963 moved to North Carolina to begin work on my doctorate in psychology at Duke University.

I was utterly unprepared for the reality of the South one hundred years after the end of the Civil War.  As I had said previously I was not expecting to endure such prejudice. This privileged young white man was vilified for being a “Yankee”. I learned a southern accent so I could be served at the parts store to buy spark plugs for my car. An end to innocence.

Time to Vote

I grew up in the Republican Party and turned 21 (the voting age then) in North Carolina. I registered as a Democrat because I wanted my vote to count. Often there were as many as four primaries to decide who the Democratic nominee would be. Most Republicans were black. They never won office.

When I went to register I check off C for caucasian which infuriated the woman at the desk because C was for colored. (I couldn’t resist the nudge.)

About the Democratic Party in the South

It is often said that the Democrats lost the South recently. Sheer nonsense. The Democratic Party never had the South. Lincoln was a Republican and they wanted nothing to do with his party so took the name Democrat. It was name only.

The furor about Biden and Southern Democrats has failed to deal with reality, complexity and truth. Real Democrats did a dance with southern racists as a means of assembling votes for legislative purposes.

It was ugly and disappointing but reflected a complicated reality.

The South Now

Eventually the Republican Party took hold in the South and we see it dominant today. The unfortunate reality is that racism is still a major issue at a level higher than anywhere else in the country. One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War the battle continues. And we can see it displayed in the supporters of Trump.

Moving On

We need to stop the petty backbiting now. We are seeing the ugliest side of our country displayed in this era of Trump. The Republican Party I grew up in is dead. The upcoming election may well determine whether we as a country will be mired in prejudice and ignorance and whether we contribute to dragging the world into a terrible conflict. Alternatively we may pursue a new and visionary view for our country. We have never had more crucial choices. And making the choices mean facing harsh and complex realities.

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Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

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There Is Sadness in America

 

First of all I have to clarify something about the context of this post. As a clinical psychologist it is my job to read people and how they are feeling. Most of the time I leave that door closed. It takes energy I don’t need to expend it for no particularly purpose. But presently I find feelings around me intruding.

Let me give three examples of things I have experienced recently.

A Simple Procedure 

I went in to get blood drawn recently and when I do the blood vessels in my arms go into hiding. Often it is difficult for the technician to find them. In this instance the woman did a basic evaluation, inserted the needle and got blood at once. I said, “It’s so nice to work with the A team.”

The look on her face was heart warming. A woman who had looked despondent became animated and happy. To me all I had said was a form of thank you and it seemed to have important meaning to her. I noted the discrepancy.

It Was Only Breakfast

Next incident. We had to go to the West Coast for a graduation and one morning we were in the terminal looking for something to eat. The offers were uninspiring until I found a man selling roasted chicken legs which looked meaty. They were quite good and I went up to the man who seemed to be making an effort to stay positive. When I told him how pleased I was, the joy on his face was touching. Once again, I had given a simple thank you.

No Big Deal

Third incident recently. I stopped at a small convenience store. There was a pleasant young woman who checked me out. She asked if she could offer a discount card and I declined. but I said, “Thank you for asking.” You would have thought I had given her high praise but she had been uplifted.

Paying Attention

These kind of incidents have come to be notable to me recently. At once I feel there is an indication that Americans are  being anything but inspired. In fact they seem mired and too often fundamentally joyless as if the future holds little for them and all they can do is struggle forward.

In fact, they re conveying how their lives are. We live in Trumpdom and an aura of widespread corruption. This is not the America I have known and we need to attend. There are people in Congress working for us and some are corrupt and work against us but fundamentally if we are to restore America we must all come out and vote in 2020 and bring back people with vision and dedication to our country.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

The Future of Jobs

 

Setting Priorities

Nationally we seem to have a wrestling match about how much to commit to what. If we speak about investing in infrastructure or health care there is an accusation of socialism. In fact we have been putting off facing something that should be inevitable and investing for the people of our country.

Focus on One Issue

Of special interest to me is the issue of jobs as we move faster and faster into a changing  future. I learned a great deal many decades ago and am deeply concerned about how we are not serving our most vulnerable people. And that issue is the changing jobs picture.

An Unexpected Job Function

When I went to work in Baltimore’s inner city as a psychologist I thought that I was to deliver mental health services. I wasn’t alone in being naive. As I’ve said before, poverty is the biggest enemy of mental health as it fuels anxiety and depression. In each of our service centers there was a vocational rehabilitation counselor and they were thrilled to learn they had a psychologist on staff who could evaluate the skills of people for whom they were seeking new employment or even some employment at last.

Many of these people were women who had no previous job experience as they struggled alone at home to feed and guide their children. What I saw was eye opening. Of course when they came for service I would interview them and when jobs were needed I would do a further evaluation to aid their counselor.

We Missed it

At a broader level there soon was even greater concern. To be blunt, when we began to see things like the decline of the coal industry and the ramping up of technology we should have begun research. It is commonly assumed that coal miners could only dig coal. Not true. There are wide varieties of talents available in all job markets and it is just a matter of identifying jobs which need filling and then studying the skill sets in the population at large.

One of the things that I came to see violated what I had been taught about intelligence testing. The most common test was divided into two parts of Verbal and Performance. Verbal is what we ordinarily assume such as vocabulary and related skills. Performance had a broader range and was less well understood. 

Discrepancies

Generally it is expected that the Verbal and Performance were expected to fall at a similar level. But when the Verbal fell lower it was viewed as a learning disability. I learned that turning it around was more revealing. Seeing it as a higher Performance level often revealed a special talent which was useful in technology type jobs. The type of jobs which would become available.

A View to the Future

For decades I worked with vocation rehabilitation people and gained a significant perspective. At least twenty years ago, when we began to see coming changes, we should have focused and begun research. We did nothing useful. The left behinds are a special focus. The ones losing jobs when they are in their 50s and 60s will be hard to serve but we can do a great deal for the younger ones and not just serve them but serve our society. 

I’ll leave it there for now. It gets complex and lengthy but I think I’ve conveyed the fundamental idea. Things are not as hopeless as they seem and there can be a much brighter future for many who see no light down their road. But we have to begin to focus on that light now.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

Echoes From The Past

 

Life’s Promise

Somehow we have a dream that a stable and glorious future will open before us. It is unlikely. Our lives are not ours alone because we share it with family and intimates, but also must share it with the world at large which is not under our control. But the past has a way of reaching out to us which is not necessarily a bad thing. It may tell us about how the world is and such things as the variability of opportunity. 

From My Past

In 1967 (yikes that’s a long time ago) I took a job in the inner city of Baltimore. I was one of the first people hired in one of the first community mental health programs in the country. I was just leaving Duke with my doctorate in hand and I was definitely ready to depart academia. The whole idea of community mental health was to bring mental health services to the public using a public health model. It was a marvelous idea.

Wait a Minute!

But there was not just one problem. Communities are different, and because of that the whole idea of applying the medical model to our inner lives was flawed and established practice is not so easily changed.

I was given an office and told to give service. But there was no one there except for a woman social worker. She led me out into the city and steadily the staff grew. Young professionals learned about the community and what it needed. It was tumultuous and fascinating.

Wait Another Minute!

But in some ways the least of our problem was adapting services to a poverty environment in chaos. An even larger problem proved to be the conservatism of the mental health establishment. All they wanted was the grant money and the glory of having landed funding for a “glamorous” enterprise. They had been providing services by psychiatric residents and medical students on six week rotations. We dug in our heels. The people of that community needed reliable ongoing services, not a series of inexperienced people passing out medication. Granted, our group of twenty somethings were inexperienced, but we were dedicated as a group to learning fast and meeting real needs. 

What We Concluded

What we found was a need for life management  in a form of partnership. Many “mental health” problems were an outgrowth of the dynamics of the poverty environment more than anything else. Of course, it was much more complicated than that but that is a rough outline. But we had found that a highly beneficial set of services and programs could have been focused.

In the End

At last though, those in power are in power after all. In time the bright eyed, groundbreaking young people moved on and the higher powers invoked a retrenchment. The community based clinics were closed, staff was withdrawn to a central building and business as usual restored.

Across the country the reform movement of that era was coming to an end.  And with its end came the end of community mental health. I tell the whole story in my book Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health.

Now the Lesson

Yes, community mental health came too soon and its time is still not yet at least until we get through our present upheaval when a younger generation with vision may take power.

But, looking back we can see something. On the street we learned a huge amount about such communities, but all the data was kept in our heads and used to formulate a highly focused, problem solving service system. If a system with managers of more vision were to be devised now, the information technology at our fingertips could help us sift, store, integrate and develop data for a viable system. And it could be adapted to fit the community at hand—whatever its form. Then we would truly have a community mental health system, but probably with a more refined name. And if we had had information technology we could have documented and built.

Coming back to one of my original points, I can see that something from the past can be brought forward to a much more adapted use at a future time when new tools and vision are available.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Roger B. Burt’s Newsletter

 

A Marvelous Set of Possibilities

The day to day news has been increasingly alarming recently. But from time to time we get some wonderful and hopeful perspectives pointing toward a truly important and positive way forward.

Such is the case with the publication of The Great Pivot by Justine Burt

Available now on Amazon.

Our Potential

There is growing agreement that climate change offers not just challenge but peril. And along comes this book which presents us with ways forward. And it is not just what we might do but it details how we can respond in a very constructive way.

The Great Pivot is remarkably detailed and I recommend it. It is not a dreamy Saturday morning read but very rewarding as it offers us details about how to proceed toward Green solutions. The book is of special interest to policymakers and job creators but is also of interest to all of us.

The author is my daughter, but I’m focusing on it in this newsletter because of the import of the book. As part of my work as a psychologist I spent many years evaluating people for vocational rehabilitation. There is great good news. High tech green jobs can be done by the very people who are presently being displaced. I won’t go into all the details but, for example, as jobs in coal decline, the very people displaced can actually move on to new technology in the green economy.

A Brighter Future Than Many Believe

I’ll stop there. The book is fascinating and points to a bright future, not in an overheated planet but of technological wonder and promise of a productive future even for the people who are presently seeing their future darken. Take a look and let it brighten your day.

Roger B. Burt, author of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

Coming soon – Book 2: Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise