Are We Not a Nation?

© 2011 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Here’s my suggestion for The President’s Speech tomorrow night on the State of the Union:

My fellow Americans: Are we not a nation? We are at a crossroads we don’t even realize. We are raising citizens with high conflict personalities at an alarming rate and the implications relate to all other issues we face. This is a problem of our modern culture which contributes to individuals shooting each other; bullying each other at school and in the workplace; taking advantage of each other in financial deals; lying and cheating and feeling proud of “putting one over” on others; excusing and rewarding bad behavior.

Are we not a nation? Narcissistic behavior, antisocial behavior, extreme mood swings and violence, histrionic news, and messages of paranoia are promoted every day. These characteristics of our culture are becoming part of children’s personalities. More and more will develop high conflict personalities that our nation will have to deal with. They are a symptom of us not acting like a nation, with a common purpose and future – our children.

Are we not a nation? We value “gotcha” over “helpya;” toys over family; selfishness over compassion. These all contribute to this problem. These are role-models for our children. We are losing our sense of connection and replacing it with a narrow-minded focus on being individuals.

Are we not a nation? Do we not care what our children are exposed to? We value exciting images of death and destruction in our media – a daily diet. We value individuals “fighting back” against imaginary enemies – training our children for paranoia and violence. We are losing our sense of compassion for people we don’t know (who may be in need), and replacing it with a sense of fear for people we don’t know (who may still be in need).

Are we not a nation? We have cut budgets for mental health care and education. Are our children a special interest group to be cut back? Do we only care about ourselves as individuals? Are we not a nation? WE must decide. The time is now…

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.

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