Thursday, April 28, 2016

Democracy Rests on Participation, Not Tantrums

People who say they will move out of the country because someone gets elected don't prefer a democratic system of government. 

Democracy isn't about having it only your way. And, yes, I know America isn't a pure democracy. 

It's about like Bernie Sanders supporters saying they will write in his name in November as some sort of protest vote. It's more a childish tantrum than an adult response within the democratic system we've inherited. 

Democracy in America has many legs. Those legs rest on the foundation that is participation of the electorate. If Americans don't participate in the process, participate in their government, in the election of their representatives, senators, and President, then the foundation of the country weakens and suffers. 
I've heard so many reasons that people give for non-participation. They hate politics. They hate the choices. They don't want to choose between the better of two bad options. They don't understand it. They're told what to believe and how to think, and it's very confusing.

That's why you ultimately make a choice and attempt to be as aware as you can of what's happening in your community, in your state, and in our country in order to check in on your choices. 

Sometimes, we simply get it wrong . . . As individuals, and as a country. If we don't even pay attention, we don't have a chance of making a better choice when that choice avails itself. That's what's amazing about America and our elections. We always get another election and another chance to make another choice. 

+Wonderful World
And, yes, sometimes the choices don't get any better. The reason the choices haven't been getting any better is due to voter participation rates being as low as they've been since the 70s. Long before Citizens United. Long before Reagan. Long before many of us were even able to vote and participate.

I don't call myself optimistic. I look at it as being American. We get do-overs more than any other country on Earth. We can turnaround this country whenever we come together as a nation and choose to do so together. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tennessee Religious Freedom Bill Unnecessary/Counselors Should Be Able to Deny Service

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill into law that allows counselors to deny service to LGBT people. There will likely be a lot of outrage and anger over this legislation, as it is yet another Religious Freedom bills being pushed through the states.  As there rightly should be. 

However, it would actually be unethical for any counselor who has any personal or professional issues with any client to provide services if that counselor is incapable of providing the client those services within the standard of care. 

This law, therefore, is unnecessary. It is simply unethical for a counselor that is incapable of working with homosexual clients to do so. It is harmful to the client and to the counseling profession. These kinds of laws only confuse and further alienate GLBT youth and adults that need all the support they need. Support that these people may not be receiving from their families, from their communities, or from their churches.
The ethical duty of any counselor would be to refer the client to another counselor, either within that clinic or to another counselor elsewhere, after receiving consultation and/or supervision. 

You would believe that most counselors would be more open-minded, but counselors cannot be expected to handle every conceivable client. 

+Amazing World
For example, some counselors cannot provide the standard of care to convicted child molesters because of personal issues that they may have regarding the trauma associated with child molestation. That does not mean that child molesters should not receive treatment. A counselor must understand how their own personal values may interweave with clients. 

Consulting colleagues and seeking supervision is helpful in working through any concerns that may develop. Counselors are human beings.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Bernie Sanders Broken Campaign Promises

This week, Bernie Sanders and some of his supporters have waged new attacks against Hillary Clinton for taking money from the oil and gas industry. There are memes once again circulating that highlight Hillary Clinton being one of the top five recipients of contributions from the Oil & Gas industry, receiving over $307,000 in campaign donations. 

What these memes and attacks fail to mention is that Bernie himself is a recipient of over $54,000 in these same contributions. 

The story for Bernie Sanders, unfortunately, doesn’t end there. 

Back in mid-January of 2015 Bernie became the first presidential candidate to sign the Green Peace pledge to not accept any campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry. Considering he has accepted over $54,000, he’s in direct violation of that campaign pledge. A pledge that Hillary Clinton did not sign. 

In fact, a new social media attack line has recently surfaced called #BernieSignedIt. However, Bernie did not follow that campaign pledge. His campaign pledges are apparently only talking points to further divide our country, increase cynicism, and to further the politics of character assassination

These aren’t the only Sanders campaign finance trust violations. 

+Amazing World
In late February, “the Federal Election Commission sent a letter to the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign committee on Thursday with a 90-page spreadsheet listing 3,457 “excessive, prohibited, and impermissible contributions.” 

Considering one of the focal points of the Bernie Sanders entire campaign is campaign financing, considering the millions in excesses by his campaign and other violations by campaign staff, and now turning Oil and Gas individual contributions into yet another talking point against his opponent when only he signed and violated a pledge to not accept those fossil fuel monies, isn’t Bernie Sanders the one that has trust issues?