Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT
Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT
Love Over Violence
I’m writing this the weekend of January 10th, understanding much will change over the next three weeks before it posts.
February primarily symbolizes two things for me: Love and Black History. I originally intended to write a celebration of the reimagining of LA-CAMFT’s LGBTQ+ Special Interest Group (for more info LGBTQsig@lacamft.org), musing on love and humanness through my experience of witnessing the longevity of true coupledom between my “Uncle Sean” and “Uncle Vaughn,” as hetero marriages around them crumbled.
I also considered writing on cultural humility, blind spots, and safe spaces, recognizing the importance of Black History Month and cheering on LA-CAMFT’s Diversity Committee’s latest offering of a specifically black therapist support group that will be led by Baaba Hawthorne, LMFT, Clinical Director at Two Chairs Therapy (for more info firstname.lastname@example.org).
But as the events of these recent days unfolded, my focus struggled to settle into these ideas. I was thrown off kilter, preoccupied with current events and the uncertainties we’re facing as a nation.
I couldn’t believe it when he won. Personally, no one I knew thought he would win; no channels or podcasts I consumed thought there was a chance our candidate could lose. Every conversation had on or off of social media convinced me that my worst fears would never manifest. And then they did.
My mind raced: It must have been rigged, those numbers couldn’t be right unless the election was stolen. It felt mighty convenient how it played out, as if each state was strategically targeted and infiltrated from the top down. People didn’t actually VOTE for that clown, did they? I wondered what world I was living in? “They hate us,” I said to my husband. And by “us” I didn’t mean him. I meant “women.” (In panicked moments I can view the world through the narrow myopic lenses that comprise the walls of my bubble.)
Unless you know my perspective starts with being a half-Mexican-American bisexual atheist aging hipster preppy rebel progressive cis-gender woman, who loves facts and science, art and individuality, from a Midwestern union family, raised on literature, theatre, and music more than sports and the outdoors—you might not know if I were talking about the 2016 or 2020 elections. Being gut-punched when Hilary lost in 2016, I repeatedly return to that feeling in order to connect with what nearly 47 percent of voters might have felt realizing the 2020 election had not gone their way.
As in 2016, some people today cannot, and will not believe they got it wrong—the only explanation their rigid beliefs will allow is that the election was stolen. With persecutory delusion, they believe all they’ve been told about a government of godless liberals hell-bent on causing suffering and destruction by taking their guns and their Merry Christmases, by forcing inclusion and tolerance upon them. They’ve religiously ingested the seditious lies repeated by the loud pretty people on TV for years, resulting in no delineation between reality and the reality show they tuned into.
For many in my bubble, organizing online around knitting pink hats, signing petitions, and marching peacefully on January 21st, 2017, temporarily alleviated feelings of impotence. Yet, however similar the depths of discontent over election outcomes may appear, all comparison ends between each party’s faithful when considering the grotesquely violent reactions of true MAGA believers we witnessed—e.g., constructing gallows, planting pipe bombs, and looting congressional offices.
These domestic terrorists organized online, too, meeting sans masks in churches, lodges, and red-hat rallies, boldly announcing plans across platforms. No doubt it felt good to be seen, heard, and needed in an important patriotic fight. With all cameras on them, filling their social media feeds, the rush of anger’s adrenaline finally gave meaning to this moment. Wrapping themselves in flags, picking up their guns and hardware in a performance of perceived strength, they stormed the polls on election night and throughout the weeks as votes were counted and recounted.
Frustrations built as they marched on courts, with case after case exposed as built on hot air, on dismissible arguments. They determinedly sent hard-earned dollars to defend their billionaire grifter saints, tweeting their “truth” and locations into smart phones, and screaming that Bill Gates cooked up this hoax to microchip us all. So while it was disturbing, it was hardly shocking when the bloodthirsty and riotous mob stormed our nation’s capitol on January 6th, 2021, committing acts of insurrection at their leader’s behest in maskless, spiteful glee. We all saw it. The loud pretty people saw it, denying their own seditious contribution to the inevitable. Even the rich cynics saw it, responding in wide-eyed incredulity that this was all a step too far for them.
When this posts, who knows what more will have happened, what literal or figurative fires will need putting out. Sadly, we’ll likely be nearing 400,000+ Covid deaths, with many more people losing jobs, homes, loved ones, and their ability to cope. Should the law and cooler heads prevail, with an average Joe sworn in on January 20th, we will still have a mess to contend with, but likely will be better resourced to help others—under a mask mandate, with a more organized vaccine roll-out, and better able to sleep at night.
Although legislative change may not come quickly, significant change does await us on the horizon, with the potential to lift all boats—no matter whom you voted for.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed,but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin
JJVW—Jenni June Villegas Wilson
Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT is a collaborative conversationalist, trained in narrative therapy and EMDR. She works with creative and anxious clients on improving, avoiding, and eliminating co-dependent and toxic relationships, while finding healthy ways to be unapologetically themselves. She is the primary therapist at Conclusions Treatment Center IOP in Mission Hills, and has a private practice in Sherman Oaks.
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