Dear Dr. Brilliant cliché,
Do you have anything to Say about the goings on in Egypt and the Middle East?
Dear Polly Tech,
Of course I do. Bad government is like a bad marriage. What people do not realize is that each individual has only one set of relationship skills and they apply it to everything from their dog to their god. If a culture treats woman badly and unequally, or if they abuse a minority, these same thought processes and rationalizations will allow for their government to be corrupt and treat all their people poorly and unfairly. There are some basic forms of human manipulation. The same forms present in an unequal marriage can be found in an unfair government: isolation, blame, guilt, intimidation… and the ever present dangling carrot (I will love you IF/you will rewarded IF).
What is significant in Egypt right now is that social media, at least for the current 10 minutes, broke through the individual isolation of that society, debunked the blame (it’s the Jews fault), and removed the guilt (only bad citizens complain.) This is very similar to the sudden epiphany a woman in an abusive relationship has when, after years of isolation, she connects with others who have faced the same abuse and realizes: I was lied to; I was abused; and I am not alone. The Egyptian Youth realized the same thing when they tuned into that Facebook page: they were not alone, oppression was not the norm, and together they might get empowered to make a change.
Propaganda is also the same in a bad marriage as it is in a bad government. There is always someone to blame for your suffering. There are the same manipulative tricks to make you feel that you deserve it, that you asked for it. Change is fueled in a bad marriage the same as it is in a bad government- with good self esteem, good boundaries, and by not allowing oneself to be distracted into blame or owning bullshit. Perseverance and reaching out for help is essential; and it’s important not to let your own fears undermine you.
A final word of caution- in a bad marriage, as in bad government, once the balance of power is shifted the tendency is to make the common mistake of going from the frying pan into the fire. Beware of false profits, easy answers, and opportunists. Relationship skills are necessary to be able to recognize an appropriate partner. Often one dictator is just replaced with another who has a better advertising campaign. Entering a false democracy, one that gives you everything you want, just is not true and will not last.
The idea of different hats is a false one. How people treat others is how they will ultimately treat you. Negotiation is necessary for both parties to actually exist and be of equal power. Connection to the greater world or community is necessary or neither a government or family will be sustainable.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
The Granny Doctor says: my Sensei used to always tell me: “If you want to know what people are really about, don’t listen to what they say; watch what they do.” Politicians and wooing partners all make the most inspiring and motivating speeches… but who knows what will happen when the election has been won or the honeymoon is over? Keep this in mind when voting or dating.