COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Politics, fantasy and reality

By Fred Cavaiani

The Republican convention has started. Soon the Democratic convention will begin. At these times we hear many inspiring speeches which canonize candidates as the arrival of a New Messiah, A Savior of America. We hear from opposing parties what "the American people want." This is such a common phrase of almost every candidate who runs for office. I am part of the American people and so are you. Yet most of us have never been interviewed by a political candidate. A good Republican seems to know what I want and need. A good Democrat seems to know what I want and need. Yet these Republicans and Democrats do not agree with each other on many issues at all. So what do I want and need?

I want a President who doesn't speak in terms that denigrates their opposition. I want a President who is a deep person of meditation and reflection. I want a President who puts principles before popularity. I want a President who will never compromise integrity and at the same time never condemn the motives of those who oppose him or her. I want a President who clearly states his viewpoints about what should be done with concrete suggestions about how to do it. I want a President who speaks the truth of what he or she believes and has core values and is not afraid to share those core values with the world. I want a President who has humility and can learn from those who oppose his viewpoints. I want a President who looks for the goodness in everyone in every country.

I want a President who doesn't talk in fantasy but is firmly grounded in reality. I want a President who doesn't talk in generalizations and pious platitudes. I want a President who wants to inspire me to do better in life and inspire me to make sacrifices for my country by his own desire to do better and his own example of making sacrifices.

The truth is that I really want a Saint to be the President of the United States.

I don't think this will happen in this election. But I need to stop pretending that whatever candidate I may vote for will be this Saint. Each candidate and their running mate will fall short of being the kind of President I would like. This is reality. Politics distorts reality. Politics creates fantasies. I know this and you know this. Yet we need politics. Without politics we would be back to Kings and Dictatorships.

So what is the solution? In my opinion the solution is found within the depth of every man and woman in these glorious United States. When we treat each other with respect, kindness and love no matter how others treat us, we will discover a sense of peace and meaning in life that will get deeper each moment of life.

Our country will have leaders based on the actions of our citizens. If we as individual men and women go around condemning, judging and sending to hell everyone who opposes us, then that is what we will get as a President. If we send out kindness, integrity and love towards all then we will eventually get this in our leaders because our leaders will come from among us.

We improve our country and its leaders by how loving we live our own personal lives. We will have integrity in our government and its' elected leaders when we first have integrity in our own personal lives.

It is best that we wear institutional politics and institutional religion like a loose garment. We need not get very unsettled by how the institutional practice of politics and the institutional practice of religion are manifested. There will always be serious flaws. But it is important that we put into our personal lives the foundational principles of a government and the foundational principles of religion. These foundational principles are always based on prayer, love and kindness. They are never based on condemnation, anger and attacking others. As idealistic as this sounds, it can be practiced in our own personal lives. The power of one person practicing these principles can help make this country a more loving and peaceful place to live and breathe and have our existence. In each act of kindness we live and move and have our being. If we do this publically and profess this politically we may be laughed at, told that we are crazy and weak and weird and dangerous. But so what, it will lead to resurrection because the presence of kindness and love will eventually bring new life both for ourselves and for our country. Try it. Just do it. It will bring an inner peace which will not be dependent upon who wins or loses. Your inner peace will eventually have a positive effect on whoever wins or loses in the political arena. You will have made the world a better place to live.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Aug 28, 2012