THE FISCAL CLIFF, DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES, AND SUCCESS? by Art Smukler, author and psychiatrist

Traveling through Hong Kong and Thailand has been an enlightening experience. Fellow travelers from Australia, England, Germany and New Zealand all made the same comment, “What’s the matter? Why can’t your elected officials make a decision and compromise?”

A good question! We are like a dysfunctional family except with one “minor” difference. The whole world gets to observe our dirty linen and the whole world is affected by the decisions that our petty, stubborn ELECTED officials make or don’t make. Stubborn and self-serving is not unusul, but this process has been horrifying.

It reminds me of the time that the world was mesmerized as President Bill Clinton denied he had sex with Monica Lewinsky and impeachment proceedings began. It was obvious what happened. The proof was on the blue dress, but still the ludicrous saga went on.

Families are complicated systems. A pointed look that a wife gives her husband, inconsequential to observers, can have enormous meaning to the two spouses. So it goes in the Senate and The House. The nuances in politics are just reflections of what goes on in all our lives except that what they decide can change the world. Thanks to Joe Biden(Dem) and Mitch McConnell(Rep) a compromise seems possible.

I believe in family and in the USA. I’m also a realist and know that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. The Senate and The House don’t have the luxury of divorce. Grow up, compromise and do what you were elected to do in a more mature and productive manner. Lead by example, not by party pressure. The American people didn’t marry you. We can and will divorce you if you don’t act like a parent and a leader should act.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.