The idea of 2 parties wrestling through politics isn’t a hard image to visualize. What is going on in the political sphere is creating this dichotomy of unrest in our nation with both parties seeing their own way as the only solution to the problems our nation is facing. In the face of a gloomy political climate, Jeff and Terry offer encouragement to those who are bombarded by the negatives.


Transcription of the Podcast


Jeff:

If we’ve got an issue going on, if I’ve got a business issue and I have got a situation where there’s something I’ve got to solve, I bring people around the table and we sit down and we come up with solutions for that. Welcome to another Journey Podcast. Today we are going to take a deep dive into politics but in a way that’s maybe a little different because we all know that there is a huge, huge negative vibe out there. And what we want to do with this podcast in the midst of all this political unrest feuding, is really offer some encouragement to family and friends that may be on opposing sides to maybe offer encouragement to people that are just bombarded by the negatives that are going on.

Jeff:

So yeah, we’re going to do that today. We’ve actually got Terry Carlson here and Terry is a licensed full time counselor and we thought maybe that would be a good perspective to have because really we can draw some parallels between the whole political climate and sometimes in marriage where you have couples that are fighting. So we thought we try to draw some parallels there and-

Terry:

Oh yeah, definitely.

Jeff:

… some things. So welcome Terry.

Terry:

Hi. Well, and I think you’ve got a really good point there. It’s really difficult when family and friends are on opposing sides. I remember growing up my mom and dad would go voting and they always talked about canceling each other’s votes out because one would vote for one party and one would vote for the other, but they’d still go do it and they smile and laugh as they did that. But I think you’re right, I think there’s just a lot of negativity out there now.

Jeff:

Right, right. Well, and I think years ago we could almost smile and laugh about some of those things and I think it seems to have gotten to a level now where the tone is just so deeply negative that the hope is here that today we can offer a little bit of constructive and positive solutions and ideas for addressing some of these things. So yeah, why don’t we dive in? I think one of the things that we have to say is that oftentimes… And you tell me if this is on target off target or somewhere in the middle, but oftentimes we look at differences, but don’t we really need to look at what we have in common, whether you’re dealing with couples or whether we are trying to solve problems from a political standpoint.

Terry:

Absolutely. I think sometimes if you can get down to what do we have in common and what do we really want at core? I think a lot of times what happens is we fight over, we come up with a solution to the problems that we think are out there and we fight over or we argue over those solutions. This is the right solution, that’s the right solution.

Jeff:

Our individual solution. Right?

Terry:

Our individual solutions. Instead of coming together and trying to solve problems as a team and saying, “Hey, how do we identify the question, what’s the problem and can we agree on the nature of the problem first before we start talking about what possible solutions are out?”

Jeff:

And here’s what’s crazy, just as an example that I noticed during the last State of The Union Address, the call went out that lower drug prices… We need to get lower drug prices and half of the chamber was like, “Oh yeah, great.” They’re standing and cheering. The other half of the chamber was like, “Oh yeah, there’s sombering.” So I think it’s gone down to a level that we’re missing the underlying mission where in this case it was lower drug prices. So we all not get excited about who lower drug prices. That’s the thing that we have in common that we would all like. Well, I guess 99.9% except I guess if you’re on the receiving end of the drug company, but the vast majority, right? We want lower drug prices. So, is that sort of it trying to find that common point that we can look at, tune out all the noise and then go, “Oh, let’s get after this. Let’s get all about this solution to this problem.”

Terry:

Right. I think… But again, as I said before, I think it’s important to identify what’s the real issue, what’s the real problem underlying all of it. It may be like you said, lower drug prices. It may be something totally different and that may be the reasons why the other side didn’t really clap and cheer and all that stuff because they’re seeing the problem from a different lens. And I think just getting to that place where we talk about what’s the lens I’m seeing the problem through? How do I define the problem? When I’ve worked with couples in my office, a lot of times I’ll ask them, can you both agree on the problem, name the problem and make sure that you’re both agreeing on that first. The next step I have them do is brainstorm. I say, before you come up with a solution, I want you to brainstorm all the possible solutions out there. Don’t, don’t pick out one and say, this is my favorite solution. Just what are all the possible solutions?

Terry:

Sit down with a notepad and say, “Okay, well we could do this or we could do that or we could do this or somebody else could do this.” And list out all the different ones, even if they sound stupid when you say them. Don’t even go through trying to problem solve until you’ve listed all the different possible solutions. Once you’ve thought of the solutions, then start talking about each one of them and the pros and cons of each possible solution. Once you’ve done that, you can kind get to a place where you can vote on your favorite solutions. And a lot of times your number one, two and three are going to look different than my number one, two and three. But we may both agree on the two. “Hey, maybe we’ve got an actual solution that would work there to both of our satisfaction.

Jeff:

All right, right. How do you know when to… And now we’re talking about more of, again in family situations and so forth. How do you know when to speak up and when to keep your mouth shut?

Terry:

That’s a great question. When in doubt keep your mouth shut.

Jeff:

Oh, okay.

Terry:

I tell some of my couples too, God gave us two ears and one mouth and I think that means we’re supposed to listen twice as much as we speak.

Jeff:

Right? Right. Well, and to hear what the other person is saying. So for instance, when I’m talking with somebody, I try to seek their view and really get their heart on it. Where are they coming from?

Terry:

That’s a really good idea.

Jeff:

Because maybe their solution isn’t necessarily the solution I would have at first pass, but… And I’m thinking about somebody in particular when they’re talking about the whole healthcare thing. It’s like, “Well, he has a great heart for people. He really wants to help people.” So again, what can we find in common and how can we get to that common ground? Something also to point out here is sort of the… I guess it’s a perspective thing maybe.

Terry:

Sure.

Jeff:

Everybody’s vote matters. It really does, right? We live in a democracy and it’s really great that we can go out and we can cast a vote, but I think the perspective of matters here to that our votes are one out of millions and that matters, but what really matters, is your life and your one-on-one interactions with people. And so maybe we can dive into that a little bit here because there is a lot of armchair quarterback and if you compare it to sports, we all have our teams, right? Let’s go Iowa, go Cyclones, go Hawks. But at the end of the day, we’re not playing in that game. We’re just cheering them on. And so like the political arena, we can cheer on our favorite politician, but we kind of step back from armchair quarterbacking and look ourselves in the mirror and say, “What can I do? What can I do?” For instance, talk about human rights things or homelessness or whatever.

Jeff:

“What can I do for instance, in terms of homelessness? Where can I get involved?” And I think that’s something that perspective thing, there’s just… And let me just toss this out and see if you agree or disagree Terry. But I just see a lot of lost human potential armchair quarterbacking where we could take that energy and oftentimes very deep energy and really go out and do something with that. So, another question that comes up here is, what do you do when you feel strongly that how someone else votes can negatively affect the direction of the country? You’re passionate about this issue and you’re talking to someone and you’re like, “Oh, why are they…” They’re not getting it. They’re just not getting it.

Terry:

Right. No. I think the question you just asked, it really gets to the heart of why the political climate is such a terrible thing for most people. A lot of people are… You’re sweating this, this is huge. There’s this really, really strong feeling that if you vote the wrong direction and if enough of you’s out there vote the wrong direction, then my country is going to suffer from this. And the perspective and the passion. You’ve got people who… I think if our son and how he really, really dives into this and researches something and he picks the best solution in his mind and it feels like if somebody isn’t going to… If the rest of the world or if somebody else votes the wrong way, then our country is going downhill really, really fast. And I think that’s a really important piece of this whole thing. And what I would say in response to that is to just be aware of how much it plays in the polarizing effect of the media and the news that’s out there.

Terry:

It’s really… When I talk about… When I’m talking with couples, a lot of times what I’m really struggled against with individual couples is this all or nothing thinking that it’s all one thing or it’s all another thing. It’s that all or nothing thinking that gets us into a lot of trouble. What happens with all or nothing thinking, is that it takes a grain of truth, is there a possibility that something bad could happen? Yes, but it takes a grain of truth, but it blows it up to 100%. And it’s saying, “Oh my gosh, if this person gets into the White House or into the Senate or whatever, oh, my gosh our world is ending as we know it kind of feeling. And the reality is that most things are not all or nothing. Most things.

Terry:

If we can just kind of back down a little bit and say, “No, wait a minute.” I think one of the best things to ask yourself is what’s the worst case scenario? What’s the absolute worst case scenario? And then play that forward and ask yourself if that worst case scenario, if this politician gets elected or if this politician gets elected, what’s the worst thing that I can imagine happening and play that forward and ask yourself, how would I survive that or what’s next or what would happen then? We may find that when you play that tape forward in your mind, you find that, “Oh, okay, so the world doesn’t end, the sky’s falling, it may not be my favorite thing, but in another two or four years we can reelect somebody who comes in and fixes things back.” I think it’s just reminding ourselves that the worst case scenarios rarely ever happen.

Jeff:

Right, right. And to keep in perspective, unless you just get raw here for a minute, there’s just a lot of media coverage out there that is just absolutely fueling this and it’s big money, it’s on different media that’s out there and it’s just a lot of talk that sort of fuel for the fire, right? You take the problems, but then you sort of toss this gas that media tosses on this and it really inflames that. Right?

Terry:

And if you step back and ask yourself, what’s the motive for a lot of these things? Whether it’s the news media or it’s the stuff you see on Facebook. Ask yourself, what’s the motive there? In a lot of the cases it’s to sell more advertising. It’s not to get a certain person or a certain idea or to get the country to come together. I’m guessing that most… CNN and Fox and all the other ones that we could name, I’m guessing that they don’t really get a lot of money when everybody speaks nice to each other-

Jeff:

And everybody agrees and-

Terry:

Everybody agrees.

Jeff:

… [inaudible 00:13:21] get along.

Terry:

Right. So, they get more money by more advertisers because they’ve got more viewers because people are inflamed and they encourage that kind of thing. If we just back away from that ourselves individually and say, “I’m not going to keep buying into that, I’m going to listen to both Fox and CNN. I’m going to try to find out, I’m going to try to just read the actual laws that are being passed, I’m going to try to make my own opinions from things.” We don’t get into that black and white thinking.

Jeff:

Well, I think… I come from business world and I think we need to learn something. And really… I learned some of it, it really put our business hats on when we go into the political realm. And that doesn’t say a business person has to be a politician. I’m not saying that, but there are some business principles which really evolve around and focus on solving the problem. Right? If we’ve got an issue going on, if I’ve got a business issue and I have got a situation where there’s something I’ve got to solve, I bring people around the table and we sit down and we come up with solutions for that.

Terry:

Sure. And a lot of that’s happening in our politicians. We don’t realize it because they don’t hit the news. But there are hundreds of bills that get passed that are bi-partisan, they both-

Jeff:

Why?

Terry:

They come around the table, they solve the problems, they meet the needs of the people out there and those things don’t hit the news.

Jeff:

And when they do, they start to get overlooked. And just to raise one up here, specifically, in the last year, the prison reform, that was something that you had people on both sides of the aisle go on, this is really a good step and this has taken years to move that forward. And this is really a positive stuff. So, let’s say, yay. Let’s do more of those kinds of things.

Terry:

When we just look at the negatives, that’s all we see. We go to bed at night with that terrible taste in the back of our stomach. When we try to look at what’s good and what’s bad. A lot of times we have a better outlook.

Jeff:

Right, right. Well, I’m going back to our family members and stuff. Our son and… At the end of the day, my relationship with him is top priority. So, we can see things differently politically, but I have a just locked and loaded in my mind that that relationship is above anything else. So, I think it’s going into that discussion, going into that… If you are a politician, going into that room and sitting around the table and saying relationships are really important here. This mission is really important, but let’s get together and roll up our sleeves and get about doing what we’re here to do in a way that honors each other.

Terry:

In that case, you’re talking two different levels, you’re talking about just around the table, you and your son and then the politicians around the table.

Jeff:

Exactly, yeah.

Terry:

And I think both of them can benefit from that advice.

Jeff:

Both of those. Right, right. Sometimes maybe us folks, us voters need to maybe model this and encourage our politicians to do what could be healthy and helpful. But yeah, politics is temporary and there’s going to be Republicans leading at times, there’s going to be Democrats leading at times, maybe some independents at times. Whatever the party is, but that will change… But really beyond the whole political climate is that eternal perspective and the spiritual matters and the whole reality that there is a spiritual part to our life that we’re only here for a short time and God is in control and people will hear that and go, “Well, yeah, but I don’t really believe that,” but lean into that for a little bit. Just go, “Okay, the sun will come up tomorrow.”

Terry:

Well, we hope so.

Jeff:

We hope so. So, as we’re wrapping up today, let’s tie this back to journey and what we’re here to help with in Journey coaching. Again, Journey coaching is all about intentional healthy relationships. And Terry, did you just want to throw out a thought there of just… The other thing that we should mention here is Terry helped to… And really was instrumental in writing the seventh session coaching workbook for Journey. And just how you see that workbook and people sitting down one-on-one tying into this whole negative political climate and how it might be helpful.

Terry:

Oh, absolutely. I think where it can come in handy is if you’re a person who has been kind of isolated from other people, you’ve been just sitting in front of the TV or just in front of your screen somehow and getting more and more upset over the political climate. Find somebody, find a friend, talk to… Get away from the screen, talk to somebody else from different opinions, get a coach, find somebody who’s willing to sit down with you. We’ve got this really great coaching process, it’s seven sessions where you learn how your story fits in with everybody else’s story and you learn about your strengths and maybe your weaknesses.

Terry:

And you put them all together and try to decide, Basically how do I move forward myself? And it takes your eyes off of the bigger thing, the political climate that’s out there and it gets it back onto how do I work on my own personal relationships and how do I build myself? It really comes down to the relationships we have and how we interact with them on a one on one basis that matters more to our lives than what’s going on in the bigger picture.

Jeff:

Well, that’s a great point Terry, because I think sometimes and we’ve talked about this before, you sort of have to have the discussion before the discussion. I think oftentimes we could all use some help of just how to sit down with another person, another couple, because again, Journey Coaching, do it one-on-one or couple to couple, but just how to have good open, honest conversations, right?

Terry:

Right.

Jeff:

That’s huge.

Terry:

And we’re going to talk about this more in another podcast. We’ve got some ideas coming up and how do we handle disagreements without beating each other up, that sort of thing.

Jeff:

Right,

Terry:

So, I’m looking forward to diving more into that topic-

Jeff:

Right, exactly.

Terry:

… time.

Jeff:

Well, and you talked about… In just closing here, you talked about a journey starts with sharing our stories with each other. And when we look at politics, we are in unison together all Americans. That’s the common thread we have here when we share our stories. And as-

Terry:

Unless you’re listening to this from another country.

Jeff:

That’s right. Would that be fun? But… So yeah, as we’re just trying to navigate this climate, let’s start there realizing that we are all Americans and let’s just talk well and humbly and with patience and to just pull the joy that we do have out of living in this really wonderful country. So, thanks again for listening, we appreciate that. As always, let us know how we can serve you. You can reach out to us in a variety of different ways and you can just check us out on The Journey website, thejourneycoaching.org. Thanks.

Speaker 2:

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