Fear and Loathing 2016: Opportunity Amidst Chaos
Posted on November 4, 2016
In just a few short days, the election will be over. Next week will feel very different from this week. Eventually, a new normal will emerge and a hopefully-peaceful transfer of power will occur.
Today we sit on the edge of this new normal, wondering what all of this has meant, and what the next four years will look and feel like in our country. We also contemplate what this new normal will mean for our clients. If you are a little older, like me, you witnessed the differences between Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and how policies shifted dramatically under each.
Each shift had a mix of the positive and the negative, and we adapted as best we could to these shifting winds. We learned how to creatively survive scarcity and maximize new opportunities when they arose. Many of us have taken to the streets to protest injustices, and others have practiced more subtle forms of advocacy, all of us motivated by improving the lives of those in our community.
Regardless of local or national outcomes next week, a door will open. Policymakers, many of whom survived their own battles, will start to form agendas, as victory turns their exhaustion into excitement. There will be a brief exhale before we return to our corners for the next fight.
It is in the exhale where opportunity exists. Whether you feel the winner naturally represents your clients’ interests or is philosophically opposed to them, there will be a window to connect, to start a conversation, and to set the foundations of a relationship. It is upon this foundation where our advocacy can lead to real change.
The knowledge we have about the brain and trauma is transformative, and can be positioned to inform policy in a way that dramatically improves outcomes for clients. As the holders of the knowledge, it is our responsibility to reach out and spread it to our communities and policymakers. The science provides us with a philosophical neutral ground to begin these discussions.
My challenge this week is to look at the races in our community. Who can you connect with to start this discussion? Aim local – have coffee with a school board member, make a call to a state representative, invite a city council member to tour your organization. If each person in the Matt’s Mumblings Community reaches one policymaker, we would educate over 1,500 policymakers throughout the country. Out of crisis comes opportunity. Where is the opportunity in your community?
Well said, Matt! This is a call to action, Everyone! Who can you reach out to? A coffee, a lunch, a site tour, or an email of welcome that indicates common interest? Use your motivational interviewing skills to talk with policymakers (and the vast array of people around them) to educate about the solutions to homelessness and a better health care system.
We continue the struggle, no matter the election’s outcome!