Holy Cannolii people — you know Edward Murrow’ isn’t even talking about Donald Trump — he’s talking about Joe McCarthy! So dear press corps take this to heart — if Trump is dogging your colleagues at a press conference please step out in mass protest. Will you lose your job? Will your competition get the scoop? Lord knows I’m not you and I can’t ask you to take risks that could impede your career and well-being. But please, for this moment, ask yourself what Ed Murrow would do. We all love heroes in retrospect — but in the moment, in real time? There actions unhinge us, make us feel unsafe.
But listen I’m not there and I can’t do it. You — the press corps — only you are standing in the sand where the line needs to be drawn. Every time we allow Trump to ‘disregard human decency and the rights guaranteed by the constitution we are showing him that he keeps upping the ante on our democracy. So please unite with one another, make a plan ahead of time — it’s not a question of if Trump will say or do something in a press conference that defies truth, and freedom of the press — you know he will. So please, have a meeting, a conference, a vote…whatever it takes not to be caught by surprise.
As a trauma therapist I have learned that the moment of crisis can be the moment of opportunity. It is in that moment that people are open to change, adjust, reconsider. When we don’t jump on that moment we lose it — but there is too much at stake right now for that.
As I watched President Obama deliver his farewell address in Chicago on January 10, 2017, it occurred to me that this was the most trauma-informed speech ever given in the history of the world. As an international specialist in psychological trauma treatment and consultation I did not keep this insight to myself. And so, I was asked: “Can you tell us more of what you mean by this?” Happy to oblige I replied: “a) Obama led with empathy b) he empowered the listener as an antidote to helplessness c) he fostered our resilience by celebrating our transcendent moments f) he de-escalated destructive aggression.
And so as we fall prey to disparagement at its finest — signed petitions, climbed over barricades, sit-in, walked-out, marched in demonstrations, boycott goods; and in the end, conclude that we can only turn this moment of crisis into opportunity if we don’t let ourselves be caught off-guard and forget to draw that line in the sand.
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