Quote: (v) to repeat a saying from someone else, usually with implication that this is a person of authority thereby giving the phrase added significance.
Having worked in a therapy world for many years, I have seen lots of quotes. Sometime these are on posters intending to inspire someone and bring hope to their period of crisis. Now, Instagram and Pintrist have plenty of blogs which bring us quote of all sorts. Being more cynical, I’m likely to identify the underlying beliefs and challenge them.
At times the white board in the therapy room will become populated with quotes. These usually have someone’s name attached to the quote. I guess this gives the quote not only authorship, but a stamp of importance. I often do not know who the author it. That begs a whole additional set of questions.
At times, I will slip in a snarky quote, usually from a family member, and put their name on it. No one other than me knows who these people are. But there is a quote and name, it must have authority.
”Love many. Trust few. Always paddle your own canoe”
”Use it up. Wear it out. Make do, or do without”
“That’s what you get for being a Christian”
Then I watch to see how long these remain on the board. Usually in a day or two someone has erased my quote, possibly replaced therm with something more politically correct, while none of the other quotes disappear. Its one of my games to see how people interpret these ideas (all of which generate robust conversations with client who are usually a jaded as I. But that brings up a whole other discussion about whether the point of therapy is to make people feel better in the movement versus challenging anxieties to vanquish them. I think that you can guess which approach I take)
For many years, in our public discourse, one branch of society has been resisting anything they see as “government over-reach” (usually blamed on Democrats) under the idea that such government action is limiting their Constitutional right to Liberty. This usually results in a wave of deregulation (usually promoted by Republicans, oh, I mean the business community which funds them). The Obama era Affordable Care Act ramped up this phenomenon fueling the Tea Party’s antics as if seeking a way to provide health care for everyone was about to put them in chains.
A quote that is conjured up in various formats was Patrick Henry’s revolutionary era “Give me Liberty, OR give me Death”. That’s a little histrionic for the inspiration white board, but pithy.
Now, 2020’s pandemic era has lit the flame of another round of my-liberty-is-stolen thinking. Mask mandates, social distancing, stay at home, work and learn from home, stream your favorite movie or band, connect with loved one through FaceTime, drive-by birthdays, etc. And, now vaccines, vaccine passports, vaccine-hesitancy, and ant-vaccers.
Then the Delta-variant hit. Republican leaning states are claiming that they want to offer liberty to their citizens to decide for themselves and their children whether to get vaccinated, wear masks, dine inside at a restaurant, go to the movies, and jump in the mosh-pit at a concert.
The result is that Patrick Henry’s quote is now “Give me Liberty, AND give me Death”
What we lost in the frenzy of protesting someone telling us that something is desirable to do is that when we have the liberty to act, we should do what they are recommending. Liberty demands responsibility. Liberty is not a pass to do whatever I please. Liberty requires us to do good.
As many of these same people profess to be Christians, I would quote their scriptures for added authority: “The wage of sin is death”. Seems that this is the route we are taking. I doubt that quote will last on the white board for long.