Politics is killing us…Literally

In 1972, I cast my first ballot in a presidential election from a remote duty station in Iceland. I was a Cryptologist in the Navy. I was 18 years old, defending my country and excited to vote for the first time in my life. It was my civic duty and an obligation I proudly embraced. I took the matter seriously. I gathered what information I could, watched and listened to the candidates, thought things through, made my choice and voted. The process, and the entire election for that matter was not stressful to me. I had no anxiety or sleepless nights. I was engaged but not consumed. And, I didn’t argue with a single soul.

Fast forward to today−things could not be more different and not in a good way. Politics is consuming us and it’s killing us literally!

Every day we are bombarded with political rhetoric on scale not seen in our country’s history. Every news show, talk show, late night show, award ceremony and day time show (not including the actual political programs) is infected with it. And, the unfortunate reality regarding the voluminous amount of information thrown at us−is the undeniable fact that a great deal of it is not even true.

It’s no wonder that we are stressed.

Politics has always been a dirty game. From the stories of Tammany Hall in New York City, to the shady politics of the Windy City, to old man Joe Kennedy sending boat loads of cash down south to buy votes−there has always been corruption associated with seeking” higher” office. The problem we face today is that we are being sucked right in along with them.

We’ve all heard the stories−lifelong friends disassociating from each other because of their political views. Across the country, people are being verbally and physically assaulted. We have witnessed paying customers being denied services because of the hat or the uniform they’re wearing. We just don’t have political opinions anymore−we’ve become political operatives. One outrageous case brought to mind, was that of a woman who refused to allow her children to visit their grandparents because they supported President Trump. This is insanity on steroids. To deny your children one of the most important bonds of their lives over politics is maddening. People have split from their friends and family, wasted countless hours of their lives responding to posts and blogs−and caused themselves a great deal of stress over a politician they have never met! Ponder that for a moment.

It’s crazy to me that we have allowed these “temporary gatekeepers of the government’s business” to infect our daily lives. Our government has problems but our country is strong. I see these as two separate entities. Our country is made up of guiding principles. The principles of fairness, justice, humility and compassion make up the backbone of America. It’s our duty as citizens to try as best we can to live by them. Regarding our government, well, it’s made up of people who come and go (eventually).

But despite the bleak picture that faces us, we have the power to stop the craziness. We can’t control what others do but we can control what we do. This blog is dedicated to finding ways to cope. Michigan Health has recommended 5 ways to reduce politically induced stress. I guess they coined a new ailment. You can spell out the acronym for the ailment yourself.

Below is a summary:

  • Beware of how much time you spend on social media
  • Be mindful of your surroundings when discussing politics (this one I have a problem with)
  • Be open to other points of view
  • Step away from hot conversations
  • Self-assess your interest (is engaging in politics good for you)

So, for right now, take a break and take a walk. Don’t worry, it will still be here when you return. Go and clear your mind and as my son always tells me−chill Dad, just chill..

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and perhaps some discussion on how we got here.

About me….

As promised, a little bit about myself. My name is Stephen Phillip Monteiro. I am an independent security, law enforcement and intelligence consultant. I recently retired as a Senior Vice President of a government consulting firm and before that spent over 20 years as a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. I retired in 2005 as the Special Agent in Charge of the Forensic Services Division and then embarked on my second career−providing consultation to the Department of Homeland Security and to the Department of Justice. Before that I was a detective with the City of Concord, NH and before all that a proud member of the United States Navy. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and throughout the world, conducting criminal investigations and providing protection to four U.S. Presidents. I have a BS in Public Administration from Franklin Pierce University and an MSc in Management from the Johns Hopkins University.  I married a wonderful woman named Carmela and have two awesome sons, Ryan and Jared. Its been a year of firsts for me. I recently welcomed by first grandchild Evie and have another on the way! I also just finished my first manuscript. A memoir entitled, The Gray Bird of Baghdad.  More about that later….

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog “Keep your Head on Straight.” Are you tired of all the negative news that consumes us 24/7?  Are you tired of the constant politics? Are you tired of all the divisiveness that seems to define us these days? Are you tired of hearing what’s wrong with America?  I sure am. But alas, have no fear. Through this blog, I want to talk about ways to bring us together and find peace in these trying times. I’d like to think of this blog as a self-improvement forum for your mind. Let’s get rid of the needless stress brought on by what we read about, listen to and watch on a daily basis that is bringing us down and focus on “The Good in America.”  I’m new to blogging so there is a lot to learn but I’m looking forward to an uplifting exchange of ideas and suggestions on how we can deal with all of this turmoil!  Later, I will tell you a little about myself.  Till then…