What The Wild Things Are

Understandings of Self, Awareness, and Mental Health in an Ever-Changing World

What do hate and health care have in common?

This week, President Obama signed into law a health care reform bill that finally made it through congress. In brief summary, the bill strives to make healthcare more affordable for people and disallows preventing access to healthcare for children and adults with pre-existing conditions. Read More

Who Really Cares About Health Care?

It's hard to see the new Health Care Reform legislation being the cause of anything. The actual bill is made up of hundreds of pages of legalize. Who knows what it says? The other day, a fellow told me it was just Obama's way of getting even for us keeping his people in chains for centuries. As it happens, I had someone in chains only once and it was her idea but I suspect that such thinking has far more to do with the current state of unrest than does the cost of a hospital visit.

Steve Mason
PT Blogger


I believe your failure to see how this bill would escalate tensions shows your contempt for these people. You fail to even attempt to listen to their arguments or even the arguments of educated people who fail to support this bill.

I suggest you review the leading economics blogs (econlog and cafehayek) on the subject of this legislation before proclaiming a straw man argument of what these people oppose or how they think.

Authors Response

Just to be clear, I do NOT, actually, fail to see how this bill would escalate tensions. Also, as I stated in the article, I DO understand that people have legitimate arguments about the bill. I think disagreement, and healthy debate, are good for the health and well-being of the country.

I do not take issue with disagreement, frustration, or even anger. I do, however, take issue with racial and homophobic slurs, vandalism, and death threats. To me, this speaks of deeper psychological, cultural, and sociological problems. That is what the article attempts to address.

Why are tensions high?

Hmmm. Economy in the toilet with no real signs of recovery. Record high unemployment (Florida). Record budget deficit and growing out of control.

And we pass a bill that both sides agree doesn't tackle the high health care costs (note the stock prices of insurance companies have climbed since passage). Our our new brand of altruism has us fund this bill by "putting it on our tab"- instead of the old-fashioned way- through some personal sacrifice. But our leaders celebrate as if we just cured cancer.

People feel traumatized- there's no deep psychological point here. If your leg breaks, you scream- you don't entreat your nearby colleagues with polite discourse.

First of all, where did you

First of all, where did you get your degree? Wal-mart I presume... This article blames every protesting individual for all extremist activities against gays and minorities. Im an active member of the teaparty, where in our group we protest such things as this healthcare bill. The president of our group is not only black American, but he is gay. I think that you are ignorant and need to take a look at your own stupidity.

she's right

You guys are missing the point. There is nothing wrong with the tea party or protesting---or even anger. Get a clue. This is about violence towards groups that have nothing to do with the health care bill. Those groups are always the scape goats. Read the article over, And go back to your tea party and continue to protest.

How to Make an Argument

I think I get the point. Death threats, vandalism, and killing don't seem to be mature ways to express your feelings or opinions about changes to our health care laws, and FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE EXPRESSING THEMSELVES THAT WAY, there must be something else going on. Makes sense to me, but if I were to make an intelligent argument against this logic I would have to say something on topic, and not simply resort to name calling, which pretty much just makes the authors point, when you stop to think about it. Speaking of which, maybe that's what I would have to do first....I know, it's asking a lot, but it usually helps me seem reasonably intelligent, and credible, rather than reactionary and immature. However, if you'd rather just dump your unconsious psychology all over a blog in a forum often read by other mental health professionals, you just go right ahead.

When Bush was president the

When Bush was president the Left complained. Obama is president and the Right complains. This i what we as Americans do when it comes to politics, we complain. We're never satisfied and we believe our view is the better one.

I suppose this is it the great proof that we actually live in a democracy since we can complain and not get arrested for it as happens in many other contries.

I'm pretty sure the Healthcare bill is too expensive. I pretty sure that if the bill didn't pass healthcare providers would continue to deny converage to very ill people who acutally need medical treatment. Our elected member of Congress didn't compromise so we got what we got.

Since we as a country have lost our ability to compromise and be civil and respectful each other, I suppose the Democrates will ram through legislation if they can and if the Republicans gain control of Congress they will do the same thing.

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Samantha Smithstein, Psy.D., is a clinical and forensic psychologist and co-founder of the Pathways Institute for Impulse Control in San Francisco.


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