Regardless of your opinions or political beliefs, it is unfortunate whenever a country feels a need to investigate its main political leader and representative. I am not writing this post to discuss what side I’m on or to condemn or condone our president’s actions. However, I am here to point out the current dynamics among the American people.

Coincidentally enough, the present situation is a lot like a group therapy session gone horribly wrong. Most, if not all, therapy groups abide by a certain set of rules typically prescribed by the therapist or agreed upon and drafted up by the group attendees. Most groups typically include maintain confidentiality, share your experiences but not advice, don’t judge, avoid side conversations, avoid interrupting each other, be honest, be respectful and sensitive, be supportive and encouraging, and avoid offensive language. In group therapy, I frequently refer to the rules of engagement of my group to keep us on task and keep the discussion emotionally safe.

To apply this to the current political situation, group therapy is simply a microcosm of real life (i.e. if you randomly pull together a small group of people from your local area, they can also be viewed as a subset of the larger culture).

What does this mean? It means group therapy rules apply to greater society.

As a people, we have forgotten how to agree to disagree. We have forgotten how to be respectful. I don’t care what you believe about our president’s actions, but I do care if you are respectful about how you communicate said beliefs. I do care if you dehumanize another living, breathing person. I do care if you cause anyone to feel sub-human in any way simply because their opinion is different than yours. If we all had the same opinion, our American government would not function as it is supposed to.

Different opinions are required for progress to occur. Healthy disagreement is essential to make sure that all peoples’ voices are heard, and all different walks of life are represented.

You, nor I, am better than anyone else. Nobody is superior because of the political or philosophical ideologies they might have about the way life is supposed to work. Our ideologies are highly influenced by our personal histories and therefore are no better than anyone else’s. Some may be more practical or suited for a specific set of circumstances. However, that does not mean that we are ever allowed to elevate ourselves above another person in status.

We need to stop labeling as Democrat and Republican, Pro-Trump and Anti-Trump, or liberal and conservative.

We need to start seeing each other as people again.

We need to develop a tolerance and respect for opinions that are different than ours.

We need to start re-implementing basic rules of engagement with each other so that real communication and connection and influence can occur. Yes, this includes on online venues and forums as well. Simply because we’re frustrated, resorting to what is essentially cyber-bullying, where we feel it’s okay to call someone an idiot simply because we’re behind a screen, is not okay. Good rule of thumb? If you wouldn’t say it that way to someone’s face, don’t say it that way in text. Use your coping skills and communicate calmly, respectfully, and with an open mind because I guarantee you are much more likely to engage that person in meaningful and enlightening conversation.

We, as a nation, can do better. Let’s actually try.