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Navigating Divisive Political Culture & Restore Your Sanity

ed wynn we the peopleI spoke with Ed Wynn about navigating the divisive political culture and restoring your sanity.

Have you had enough?

Enough of political extremists and insiders who want to silence and divide us so they can dominate the debate and impose their agendas? Enough of the personal attacks and self-serving spin they use to hide the truth, complicate the system, and keep us on the sidelines?

As a nation, we’ve become increasingly divided and uncivil. But we’ve always had the power to reclaim our government, find common ground, and solve our biggest problems—even if we didn’t know it.

Navigating Divisive Political Culture & Restore Your Sanity

In We the People, Ed Wynn simplifies US politics and reveals what political extremists and insiders don’t want you to know:

  • How to get the truth and the facts we need to hold our governments accountable
  • How to stop the silencing of moderate voices and end verbal violence
  • How to discover practical, unifying solutions to the most important issues we face

We the People. A phrase so important that it’s the first three words of our Constitution. Together, we have the power to restore our government to serve us all—it’s time we use it. Purchase the book by clicking here:

Read the transcript below

Jason Wasser, LMFT (Speaker 1) (00:00):

This is the You Winning Life podcast, your number one source for mastering a positive existence. Each episode we’ll be interviewing exceptional people, giving you empowering insights and guiding you to extraordinary outcomes. Learn from specialists in the worlds of integrative and natural wellness, spirituality, psychology, and entrepreneurship. So you too can be winning light. Now here’s your host, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified neuro emotional technique practitioner and certified entrepreneur coach Jason Wasser.

Ed Wynn (Speaker 2) (00:36):

So as we’re just a few weeks out from the 2020 elections, today’s guest H Edward Wynn is an author is a consultant, a problem solver. He has worked on all branches and levels of government with both Republicans and Democrats. He is a Truman presidential scholar with a political science degree and a law degree. And most importantly, not being a political insider, he’s willing to call out all sides on it’s BS. Edward, thank you so much for joining us because right now we need to have this conversation more than ever. Thank you, Jason. I’m glad to be on. And yes, it is a conversation we need to have now more than ever. So before we go into the tangible, practical, nitty gritty stuff that, that you and I probably agree that everybody needs to hear and everybody needs to be listening to. Can we go back a little bit and how did you find your way into this world and what made this something that you are so passionate about?

Speaker 2 (01:44):

Because your book is called We, The People and right now the, we has been out the door. Yeah, very important. So it’s an interesting story. How I came up with the idea for the book four years ago during the last election cycle, almost at this same time of year, I rode across the country on my bicycle with 12 other writers, uh, through many of the States that turned out to be the battleground States for 2016, from Oregon, basically to Maine. And during that ride, obviously had a lot of time each day to, uh, think, um, observed how people were reacting and the increasing divisiveness that was, uh, capturing our country. And that so much of the debate was not about how this candidate or another candidate could help us become better by just how that candidate was the personification of evil. And that seemed to me to be not an appropriate approach. And it certainly led to a very divisive election and some things that have been divisive after that. And so the idea was how did we get in this place and what can we do to get out of it and started doing

Speaker 1 (03:00):

Some research and thought about that. And then that’s how the book came out.

Speaker 2 (03:04):

Wow. So before this, your work, your engagement in government, in politic, um, and policy, can you, you know, one, just give us a quick understanding of how you worked your way up through that. Why graduate school, why law school specifically, um, but I’m really, you know, as you go through this, how did you start seeing the difference between policy and politics? Because I think that’s a key central point to being able to have these types of conversations, but I do want to start back of like, you know, what initially got you to law school because a lot of our listeners are young professionals and they’re deciding if they haven’t already decided where, what they want to do with their life, but perhaps once they’re already in a specific field, how they can ho uh, hone in and focus on what they really want to do as their purpose. So how did, how did that happen for you?

Speaker 1 (03:51):

Let me start with law school. I’ll do that quickly. And then I’ll talk about kind of my progression through the policy journey and why I think that’s important and why that needs to prevail over politics. So my law school is a little bit different. Um, my father died when I was 14 years old and we were not very well off. And I attended a small, very small high school in Southern Illinois, 44 students in my class. And I couldn’t figure out what I was going to be. I wanted to be a dentist because the town Dennis was a hero of mine, but I don’t like needles or blood. So that probably wasn’t a good career. And my business teacher saw that maybe I’d be interested in law. Well, of course, that high school wasn’t large enough to have a business law course. She bought a book for me and I studied on my own and I ended up placing first in a business law contest with the future business leaders of America and Illinois and second in the nation.

Speaker 2 (04:45):

And so I figured it’s obviously something I enjoy and I’m somewhat good at it. So maybe I’ll try that. And so that’s how I came about to being a Laura’s first college graduate in my family and certainly the first lawyer. So, but it just shows that with the right, um, teachers with the right mentors, uh, you can do anything. And so I’m just always so pleased, uh, for miss Emily helping me discover that that’s what I needed to do. So that’s my why. And lawyer story, um, policy is really important to me. So I’ve been very, very fortunate. My first kind of government position was as a governor summer intern here in Illinois. And I did that even outside of the political connection to that. I had no political connections. Um, and that was a very interesting experience. Did some work in the legislature, did some work at a state agency then after law school, I was a clerk for a federal court judge, a great experience.

Speaker 2 (05:45):

Great judge. Uh, and then I did go into the private sector and law focused on some policy issues, litigation, some other things, and then also had opportunities to work in state government, including, uh, um, being the deputy director of the largest state agency in Illinois for a very controversial time. And so that was a, that was a very good experience to get that as well. I’ve also served locally cause I do believe that serving your community is important. So I’ve been a police commissioner was a police commissioner here in our local town for about 10 years and always try to be involved in policy issues to try to help solve pressing issues in our community, state or nation. And I think that’s really the approach. So I’ve worked Republican Democrat. I’m, um, more of an independent, not a centrist because I don’t always go to the center, but I analyze each issue based on the facts and the logic and the policy. And sometimes I’ll come out on one side or the other or somewhere in between. And that’s where I think we all should be being open-minded.

Speaker 2 (06:47):

I would love that if one of my philosophies, um, that was taught to us in graduate school was the both and reality. And that perspective of your allowed to have your perspective, you’re allowed to have your worldview, but that worldview belongs to you because of your experiences and your culture and your race and your religion and your background and your trauma and your drama, whatever it may be. And that, that’s why it’s unique to you. And, you know, in general, the idea is that becomes someone’s truth. And, you know, for some people that will become their capital T truth. And for other people it’s not right. It could be a lowercase, right? Well, that is a truth versus the truth. And I’m always trying to share that reality in that, that philosophy with people, um, whether it’s my therapy and coaching clients, or whether it’s sending you the workshops and classes I give is that we create our emotional reality.

Speaker 2 (07:40):

And then we try to promote that in the world. And that gets reflected back to us, whether it’s more of what we want or less of what we want. And, and I know that as people go through their professional careers, the things that they fell in love with about their career, the beliefs that they had early on, the romanticism of it sometimes gets taken away from us. So I know that, you know, the people who love law loved the law, they love the, the craft of it. They love the beauty of it, the poetic ness, the just right. There’s so much meant multiple layers there. Um, especially since we’re about a week out since, um, you know, the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, where there was such a like profound love and passionate about it, where, what was it for you that originally, you know, I’m going to assume, I’m going to assume this then that there was originally a falling in love with the law. And what was it that you fell in love with about that world of law politic and such. And then was there a time or experience where made you start doubting or challenging your beliefs?

Speaker 1 (08:45):

You know, the, the reason I fell in love with it was the ability that the law has to help you solve problems. And I didn’t fully realized that at the time, other than when I was studying business law for my, uh, textbook given to me, by my business teacher, I could see that its focus was really on how this set of rules helped people achieve results in business. And it normalized that, so that everybody had a common set of expectations and we could all figure our pass out in the, in the business world. And so I thought that was really unique. And as I continued to study it, you know, going to something kind of on the opposite, extreme of constitutional law or anything in between even tax, I happened to have, uh, professor Ginsburg, uh, uh, justice Ginsburg’s husband for tax law and in law school.

Speaker 1 (09:39):

And he was an amazing teacher, just, just amazing. And I didn’t like tax law, um, but he really was able to teach him and I was able to learn it very well. So that was great. So all these things, but it was all about figuring out how to help other people and how to figure out a path. And that’s why I think, um, law is so attractive to me, but it’s not just law because sometimes, you know what I call straight law, which is just, here’s the legal principle. You have to consider it in the context of the policy. That is the basis for that law and what is its effect on us, the people who are make up the legal system and who are the governed people of the world. And so you’ve got to take all that into account. I think when sometimes it’s stripped of that stripped of that policy, stripped of that broader meaning. I think that that, that makes it unattractive. And yeah, there have been times when I’ve noticed that occurring and having to agreed with it, but the thing you have to do in that situation is, uh, say, okay, yes, that’s happening. That shouldn’t be happening. How can we make it go back into the right direction or change the law when we need to do that?

Speaker 2 (10:48):

Well, as I’m going through the headings and chapters of your book, and I just want to, again, reiterate the name of the book, cause it’s, you know, right now I think this is something that everybody should be getting their hands on. It’s called we, the people restoring civility, sanity and unifying solutions to U S politics. I mean, there’s nothing more we, we all need. And this seems like it’s a massive crash course and a one-on-one of how to like regain this back, but understanding the U S political process, what you weren’t taught in civics, what you need to know about the political actions, what you need to know about federal and local governments, how do we fulfill our duties as citizens, right? And then you go into the six principles, uh, which caused a lack of civility and political discourse. It’s funny as I was going through this, uh, the first time I’m like, this is so similar to what I’m doing in any type of couples counseling or family therapy, or even individual therapy when people have conflict with anybody else, right?

Speaker 2 (11:47):

You talked about individualism and supremacy. The idea that like my point of view is better than yours. I’m right. You’re wrong. The polarization, absolutism, victimization, and dehumanization, which, you know, we definitely unfortunately have, um, on multiple levels, but then how people can actually change that, which a lot of people talk about the problem, but they don’t give real tangible solutions. And you really do that. You go into the reframing it, which is the next step, and then examples and potential solutions of how you can take each one of these, um, core topics, right? Um, same sex, marriage, healthcare, guns, guns, abortion, all that stuff. So what is a unifying theme? Like what’s like some of the app is like, not that I would call it an absolute, but what, what’s a running theme that you see that here’s where we’re stuck and here’s how you can start addressing it and changing it.

Speaker 2 (12:40):

There are probably two or three different ways to get. Sec, let me talk about two of them. The first is going to be where we start with our positions, not what we’re trying to achieve our goal. And the second is we put a label on something that puts it down a path that prevents us from solving it, actually. So let me give an example of each. So in the, in the first we often start with our position. We believe that there should be abortion or should not be abortion. Um, once you lock in on a position like that, your mind is not going to be opened. Your ears are not going to be open to hear what the other side has to say. And you’re more focused on winning your position. So starting with the position is not a good way to start. We need to back up and start with what are we trying to solve?

Speaker 2 (13:28):

What are our concerns? What are our issues? What are our common goals? And when you start with that, as simple as that may sound, when you start with those common goals, you can actually have a discussion with the other person and you can be curious and you can ask them, tell me, help me understand your position because it’s so often that we just lock into ours and we get at war. And oftentimes there is a perfectly reasonable solution that sometimes is really the better than either of the individual sites had at the beginning. And it’s that way. So that’s the first point. The second one is labels. And the label I used for this is climate change. Um, that’s not what the issue is. If we sit back and look at it, it’s really global pollution. And so I think most of us would agree.

Speaker 2 (14:18):

Most all of us would agree that we want to have clean water, clean air and a clean environment who doesn’t want that. Of course, we all want that. So then you have to have a discussion saying, okay, if that’s our goal, let’s talk about how we get to that. Let’s define what a clean environment is. Let’s figure out where we’re deviating from that right now with actual facts and data, not stuff that I’m going to make up on my own to support my position. And then let’s figure out how we can get to a range of solutions. It may not solve the whole problem, but it will start solving some of the problem. And in a way that unifying, because now we’re all working together on the, under the umbrella of the same goal, rather than it cross-purposes and just yelling at each other. So those are the two best practical ways.

Speaker 2 (15:04):

And if I had to add a third, Jason, it would be get the facts. And that’s why I started with these. This is what you need to know about government. And also in talking about our duties as citizens. One of those is to get the facts. And when we start from a place other than with the facts, we’re never going to be able to solve it because the truth is out there. It’s not going to change just whether or not I believe it or not. It’s out there. We just have to work together to find that. And then from that, look at the range of solutions that we have to find a solution to the issue we’re addressing. Right? So since the book,

Speaker 2 (15:42):

Uh, came out, one of the things that has been really difficult right now, perhaps even on both sides. And it’s funny where, um, you and I were discussing, uh, in our earlier conversation about, um, I have a family I’m very good friends with in Atlanta, and they’re definitely leaning to a different political stance than I do, but we can always go back to policy. We can always go back to exactly what you’re saying and, you know, especially over a good bourbon, um, you know, in the conversation, can you take it to another calmer level as we sit there and enjoy each other? And, and I’m like, wow, that makes sense. Like, okay guys, so I can understand from your point of view, which is the, the narrative and the beliefs of where you’re coming from about why that makes sense and why that’s important to you and willingness to hear out my side.

Speaker 2 (16:23):

Now, they still think I’m wrong. And I still think they’re wrong. Right. But, but we love each other. We respect each other. We can have those peaceful, meaningful conversations. When I’m hearing you say this, I’m always going back into my therapy process, mine. And I remember a few years ago there was a, um, commercial. And this person was, um, they were trying to see if this person wants to join the dating site. And she’s like, I don’t know. He’s like, well, what are you looking for? And her response was, I’m looking for someone who’s nice, funny, and kind, and me watching this, I’m like, shouldn’t that be given like that shouldn’t be like that, that should be like, not even just entry-level, but that should be a given as, but what is it that like we really want, what is it that you should really be asking for?

Speaker 2 (17:09):

What is it that you should really be talking about? And I think that’s very much in comparative to what you’re saying of like, where do we start with what we’re asking for and what we’re putting out into the world. Um, but tying it back to what I was saying a minute ago of what maybe has, uh, spawned itself at an extreme in the last couple of years has been the conspiracy theories. And then the lack of trust. In fact, the lack of trust in science, and then even science itself, not allowing itself to be trustworthy, or at least the way that they’re putting it out as far as data and media and one of the realizations I’ve had. And maybe you can, um, you can talk a little bit more about this side as well, is that people are seeing scientific process workout in real time right now, in other words, when it comes, when people come up with a theory, it’s not something that changes. It’s not something that happens in three months. It’s a series of experiments with new data coming in and they change their hypothesis until they get to a final conclusion over a set period of time, over a set period of experiences. And people are saying science is failing us because they’re only looking at one experience or one experiment versus the longitude.

Speaker 1 (18:17):

Yeah. And I think that we have to realize with any type of science that’s there, it, that that scientific process requires hypothesis and experimentation. Excuse me. And so with the coronavirus, let’s just call out what we’re speaking about is we it’s a novel coronavirus. So we don’t know, we didn’t know a lot about it, but we knew some basic things that generally apply to all viruses. And there were some things that we knew we needed to figure out the problem is that I think some people tend to state those, uh, in a very declarative way rather than in an exploratory way. And so then people say, well, they said this now three months later, it’s proved false, or it’s not as true as they said, therefore, we can’t trust anything. They said, well, that’s it a logical gap anyway, but putting that aside, I think we need to be very careful about that and to say what we know and what we don’t know.

Speaker 2 (19:21):

And if I were going to back and point again, it’s, you know, it’s so many people working on this and it’s such a difficult issue. It’s not meant as blame at all. But when we said, Oh, mask, won’t help wearing masks. Won’t help. I understand the reason why they did that is they wanted to preserve those N 95 mass for, uh, the medical healthcare workers who core should have them and have prior to them, it didn’t want to create a run on them as occurred with some other drugs that were mentioned as potential cures. And so, but just to say that we need to save these for, and if that’s our goal, then we should figure out a national stockpile for those. But see if you go back to, what are we trying to do? What is the policy? What is, what are the facts we have right now?

Speaker 2 (20:05):

And based on those facts, what are the range of solutions we can do? What are the pros and cons let’s sit down and figure that out. And let’s communicate with each other about what we’re doing rather than just, I have my position. And of course, it’s right. Cause I’m the expert or I’m the, uh, president. So I know what I’m saying. It’s not based on a power it’s based on knowledge and information and facts. And that’s what needs to went out the day. And, and hopefully here we can do that though, is we’ve seen people that have locked into those positions and it’s hard for them to get out of it. Even when you see the, the very large and very tragic number of deaths we’ve had in the United States and even more so the number of people who were infected and who still have yet to know what their eventual outcomes are going to be in the long-term effects.

Speaker 3 (20:52):

And if this is really a time where I think if we had started maybe from a different frame of what can we do to protect each other and really do that because I do believe the American people, we, the people really, for the most part, not everyone, but the vast, vast majority of us really do care about each other. We care about our communities. We care about our families. We care about friends. Um, and so if you could rally people around that and say, I’m going to give you the facts that I have now, these may change, but let’s just all agree on this one thing. We’re all going to work together to help each other out of this, uh, from a health perspective, from an economic perspective, from an emotional perspective, we’re gonna help each other. That’s what we do as Americans. I think that could have been a very appropriate unifying way to deal with this issue as significant as it is.

Speaker 2 (21:46):

Yeah. So a story that happened about a month ago is I have a, uh, a friend and a colleague of mine. And as he has his points of view, which is again the opposite extreme and, and I’m, and I’m happy that I have people in my life that have very different views on me. And, um, even if they’re, you know, even if both sides are, it can be divisive. And I remember him commenting on something, um, from his perspective and I wanted to desperately respond, and I knew that it would go divisive very quickly and I didn’t want it to go there. So I wrote to him the following, it was on a Facebook feed, which, which my rule of thumb is, you know, at this point, um, since the last two months, I’m, I’m, I’m constantly sharing with people, whatever you do just don’t get into an argument on a Facebook fight, right?

Speaker 2 (22:31):

No one is ever going to win. No one has ever won a Facebook argument and your emotional well health and wellbeing, and your possible, your personal reputation, especially your business reputation can definitely be affected by that. So I reached out to my, on the post with all great. God knows how many people were commenting already. And I said, before I share my comment, I want to let you know how much I respect you as a human be as a professional, see, as a dad, see, as a business owner, as an entrepreneur. And anything I’m about to say is only coming from a place of conversation, not a place of attacking, and then share my points. And that conversation was, was, you know, I, I created a space for it. And even though I still drastically disagree with a lot of this stuff, he says, I’m still desperately trying to hold on to a place of like his point of view as his point of view.

Speaker 2 (23:20):

And it’s absolutely makes sense for him based on everything he knows. And I do want to respect his wisdom and knowledge of what he’s gained in his life, because I wouldn’t want him to say Jason’s a complete total idiot who knows crap either. And it’s hard. It’s so hard for us to get there. And I, and I, and I, and I, and I screw up and we all screw up on, on not doing that all the time, but I want to, like, as people are listening to this, can you, you know, can those of you that are listening? Can you Elise, try to do that? Can you put caveats out there before you engage with someone? Whether, especially if you know them, Hey, I want to let you know I’m coming from a place of respect. And if I pass a line, will you let me know lovingly? And I think we can get back there if we just do that over and over again, it’s a muscle memory, right? It’s emotional muscle memory. It is.

Speaker 2 (24:06):

And it’s being curious, and it’s one of the six things that we can do to restore it, which is, you know, if somebody has a different position than you, don’t just assume they’re automatically evil because they have that position or they’re stupid, or whatever other denigrating term you want to use. Start first by saying, thinking, why do you have that? Cause you just ask them in a non-judgemental way, help me understand why you feel that way. What are the facts you have on that? I want to really understand this because I just feel we, we can have a conversation, but we may be talking past each other. So let’s really focus on, like you explained to me and then I’ll explain to you, and maybe there’s some common ground there. And I know that that works because there’s a couple of organizations. And I won’t remember either of the names right now, but they actually hosted, I believe one hosted 535 people of the same numbers, people in Congress, uh, just ordinary assistants throughout the country.

Speaker 2 (25:02):

And they had them come for a weekend and talk about these topics. But they did it in a framework, very similar to the one that I have in my book. And that, uh, um, I think we’ll work on this. And it was amazing how many people from these polar opposites from these polar opposites are able to have a discussion that they don’t solve everything. But wow. They were like, I can’t believe we saw so many things I thought were just going to come here and yell at each other. And so I think we really have that capability to do it. And so one of the things I’ve been doing in promoting the book is to go on a variety of podcasts from all parts of the spectrum and what I found amazing. I’m glad it turned out to be true. Cause I was hoping it would be is that even when it’s someone who’s got diverse perspectives, when you have a discussion like this, it’s amazing how much ground you can really agree on. And you can do it in a way where you leave the conversation and the other, person’s not your sworn enemy. You’re not putting a death threat on them and all this other ridiculous stuff. You’ve actually had a good conversation. Do you both feel like you’ve made progress and we’ve become more United to solve the common issues that face us? And that’s what we should be at?

Speaker 2 (26:08):

Yeah. One of my, um, one of my old friends who, uh, when I was in high school, he was a, uh, a youth director, uh, in a synagogue in Atlanta, Georgia. And I was, I grew up in South Florida, so we’ve known each other for a very long time. He created a program called Etgar 36, which has become a teen tour summer pro originally started off as a teen tour summer program, uh, about the civil rights movement. And he brings any travels, right? They take a bus and they travel around the country and they go to both sides of the debate and meet with experts on both sides of the debate. Um, and it is able to create space and, and, and he was actually just on, uh, two weeks ago, his episode was, uh, was released and to hear that this is possible and that teenagers are willing to do this, that they’re willing to go out of their comfort zone to willing to walk into a room.

Speaker 2 (26:56):

He shared a story about, uh, that, uh, teenager walk was about, they’re about to go hear a speaker and that car and the person’s like, I can’t be in the room cause I person doesn’t believe I should exist. And the teenager still, after having a conversation went in and found, and actually we’ll bring it up to that person. And they ended up having a really powerful breakthrough conversation. And I think that like this whole idea of, you know, one of the questions that I love asking clients, which I think is so apropos to what you’re trying to share, uh, through the political lens is what personal stories or experiences have informed your beliefs about this specific topic, right? Let’s go as let’s stay away from the 10,000 square foot, you know, a 10,000 foot view and go into these personal stories. What have you gone through that has informed you? What is, what have you, right. As opposed to like, we always have this thing of like, we want to protect people. We always want to right. Protect our tribe, but what is it that made you have this personal? And when did you first become aware of this idea or this issue that I’m really, really interested in, in hearing in a packaging with people?

Speaker 2 (28:05):

Yeah. I, you know, it’s had a combination of experiences and teachings and I was very fortunate to have, um, parents who weren’t of, uh, who were of modest economic means, but who tried to teach us good values and fraud for us. And it’s actually a quoted at the beginning of the book. And now that I’m reflecting on that, um, there was, if there was a phrase do unto others, as you would have them do unto you, and there’s various forms of that in different religions and beliefs and views. Um, but that’s actually pretty good. So one of the things I’ve always tried to be guided by, and again, I’m not perfect, but I am, I get it. Most of the time is trying to put myself in the other person’s position. Uh, I think that’s so important, um, and to treat them like a human, um, cause I think if we’re talking about our neighbor, our, uh, someone that we, uh, go to school with or someone we associate with, we caught them a lot more Slack and we’re willing to have a conversation and learn, and be curious if it’s somebody over here and they’re strange or different, uh, we tend not to do that.

Speaker 2 (29:16):

So I think treating everyone like they’re, um, like you’d like to be treated. I think that is just a good approach and does stop and just think, and sometimes this, you know, you have to watch the emotional trigger and when you feel that coming, you can feel it every time with that adrenaline, you have to stop back and say, wait a minute, now I’m not going to be triggered right now. I’m going to seek to be curious and I’m going to really seek to find, okay, what is, what is that person’s position? What is, what is the situation here? How can I understand them? And that often leads us to a position that we can come up with a unifying social may not be a perfect solution. It may not be a comprehensive solution, but it is a unifying solution that advances the ball rather than puts us more locked into different positions.

Speaker 2 (30:04):

And it’s so unfortunate for me to see that, you know, even over things like mask wearing or other things like this, where we’ve politicized something, which we need to stop the positioning, going back to what I said before, and really focusing on what is our goal. If the goal is to try to keep all of us healthy, to keep our businesses open, to keep us employed, uh, to keep us mentally, um, in a good way, why can’t we make that our goal and all work together toward that with, you know, some variations on how we can do that and just do it from that sense of caring, not from, you know, I want you to where, you know, when we dictate something to somebody they’re rarely going to do it, particularly if we do it from a position of I’m right, and you’re wrong. And so we have to get away from those types of things that have more of a discussion and focus more on what we’re trying to achieve.

Speaker 2 (31:00):

So going back to the initial question, the thing for me is we really need to think about things from other people’s perspectives and seek to understand them. And that doesn’t mean you get rolled over by someone who’s deliberately taking advantage of you, but you can always have the conversation and have the understanding. And I’m surprised in many cases that, and again, I’m not a journalist. I don’t want to claim that I’m a professional journalist, but, um, I would like to see our journalists ask the why question more of our politicians. You know, if a politician makes that a statement, that’s very, uh, outrageous, um, our, that doesn’t seem to be supported by facts. I think they should ask that politician right away. Help me understand. You just said this. What, what is the basis for your belief? What facts do you have that lead you to believe that?

Speaker 2 (31:52):

Why do you believe that? And what do you think we should do about that and see what the air action is? You can tell just in how that person approaches it in that situation, um, that they are going to, um, uh, more often than not, if they don’t have facts, you’re going to be able to tell that they don’t, because they’re going to struggle emotionally with how to answer that question. They’re not going to be able to respond or they’re going to give the well, that’s just the way it is or whatever else and those things aren’t helpful. But again, if we can do that in a noncontroversial way, not diminishing the intensity that we need to have those conversations, but do it in a very respectful, non, emotionally charged way. I think we can start to understand things that went off. I’m not a psychologist, not at all, but if you look at even the recordings, I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve listened to the recordings of the Bob Woodward and president Trump interviews. He must have done that really well to get him to have those conversations like that. He made him feel comfortable and at ease

Speaker 2 (33:04):

Excuse me, tough questions, but not disrespectful questions to get what the president was really thinking. And, you know, everybody needs to be able to express what they’re thinking, as long as they don’t do it, no condemning or doing things in a bad way toward others, but they need to express their opinion, even if we don’t disagree with it, because until those are expressed, there’s no way we can have a discussion that’s going to lead to any resolve.

Speaker 2 (33:28):

Yeah. So the idea of asking a question versus telling someone a, what you’re thinking versus about what they’re thinking. Right? So, and I have this conversation all the time with my clients, especially when it comes to couples where I constantly remind them to say retract what you just said to your part, like, especially in session, right? Retract what you just said to them. And can you form it in the, in the, in the way of a question, without it being leading as if your bias is already implied in the question. Excellent. Right. When I saw you do this, can you tell me what was going on for you? When you came over to me, when all the kids were, were, were going crazy and you needed me, what was your thought about what were you hoping? What I would say, right? Whatever, you know, whatever framework that can be in. And we can expand this obviously into the political realm of, of all of these different things of what’s the most important part, right? So it’s like any one of these things, gun control or abortion. What’s the one central, what’s the most central idea of all of the stuff in that, in that category. What’s the most central idea in all of those things. That’s the most important to you

Speaker 3 (34:38):

At that? That’s right. And having a discussion to figure that out. Um, you can do that in a way that is respectful. You can do that in a way where you’re bringing facts, where you’re insisting the other, uh, person you’re speaking with is bringing facts. Or if you don’t have the facts, agree, these are the facts we need to go get, let’s go get those, uh, you know, you, we can do this. W we, we know how to do this. We know how to do this in our families. We know how to do this for their friends. Uh, we know how to do this with our associates. We know how to do it at work. And so now let’s just do it as a nation, particularly now, when we have all these things that are really tough, uh, that are, I think we would all agree.

Speaker 3 (35:20):

We’re not happy with, let’s figure out a way that we can coexist the, the, the other problem with this, Jason. And it’s something you hit on and I’ll hit on now is we have to stop this two ideas. If I could wave a magic wand and make two go away, there are other things I get to go away. But if I had limited to two, it would be, you don’t get to make up your own set of facts, um, individualism, and secondly, no supremacy, which is my facts. Aren’t better just because I’m me. Um, if we could get those two things out of the equation, I think we would be so much better off. We just start from the position. Ours is better. And you know, some of this has started in colleges, and I think this is really unfortunate where we don’t want to hear opinions that are, um, inconsistent with our beliefs or thoughts that don’t make us feel safe.

Speaker 3 (36:16):

Um, the whole idea of college, and one of the things we should all have learned going through college, or even not, if people don’t have to go to college and learn this, but in working with each other and, and in an adult setting, you tip typically you should learn that there are other opinions out there, and you should learn how to process those and to listen to those and help expand your own knowledge. Look at it as a learning opportunity. You know, none of us knows everything. You know, I constantly am reading to try to learn more things and talking to people. So we should do that too. And we’ve got to accept that people are going to, they’re not all going to be like us and we’re America. We’re built on this foundation that we’re out of out of many, you know, one, we’ve got all, all these different people with all these different backgrounds that are based on equality and Liberty and freedom.

Speaker 3 (37:09):

Let’s figure out how we maximize that. We don’t have to go search for a common goal. This is our common goal as a country, it’s in our constitution. So let’s just go back to the hat and say, how do we make this happen? It’s, it’s not really that hard, but you know, like with a lot of things, when you’re so caught up in the individual detailed positions, and this is it, and I’m not going to give an inch and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you can overlook all that. Even the constitution that you’re saying you are striving, everything to maintain, you’re actually going against it, unfortunately. And we need to just break that pattern and get back to something where we can all work together.

Speaker 2 (37:49):

It reminds me exactly about the years that I’ve been doing therapy. And it’s funny, like at a certain point, when you see a critical mass of people in your career, you start realizing that there’s only a certain amount of variables of what can show up in your office, obviously, depending on your population. Right? But even within that specific population, um, of, of who you’re serving, there’s still only a specific amount of variables, right? It’s like the X and Y access X is the person Y you know, is, is the scenario or X is the issue that happened and why is when it happened and who had happened from right or towards, right. And there’s only a certain amount of those that can go around in a realizing that are issues that every human being struggles with or goes through, aren’t fundamentally different, but it’s our beliefs about what that issue means is where the difference is.

Speaker 2 (38:49):

Everybody feels sad. Everybody gets happy, everybody feels frustrated, everybody feels excited, but it’s the belief about what those scenarios, the mean to them is where we get stuck. And I think that if we look at it through all sorts of that political lens, how much of a personal identity, and I, and I really been trying to like, brainstorm this. So maybe you can help me unpackage it to another level where I’ve been discussing this with, um, some of my, my classes that I’ve been giving online is that when the, why people are so sticking fundamentally to their point of view and trying to push it, and aren’t, aren’t able to hear something else is that if they are fundamentally wrong or flawed in their theory, they actually take it as my right or reason of existing disappears. In other words, like this is as if I have to prove my rightfulness to be existing as a human being by this belief. And if I can prove it to you, then my value as a human disappears, if I can’t justify it,

Speaker 3 (39:50):

Wow, that’s a lot for any one person to put on themselves, for sure. And we all always have to be willing to change with events and facts as they change as well. I think one of the issues that’s out there that I think is also unfortunate is we tend to, and, and I think politicians and candidates for office manipulate this, and I think it’s poor. I think it’s very poor. They try to, uh, attach highly charged emotions to political and policy positions. And I think that just from, um, you know, basic human biochemistry and, you know, the hormones and all of this stuff, isn’t exactly, it puts us in a really bad way. So even take the things like the, the, and this is gone for a long time. I remember Jason, I’m a lot older than you, but, um, you know, with Dukakis, when he was a presidential candidate and the whole thing about scaring people about crime in the suburbs, now we’re seeing that again.

Speaker 3 (41:04):

And, and that really is in for unfortunate. Yes, it is designed. I’m going to call this out for what it is, those types of comments aren’t designed to help us become any better as a nation or solve any problems they’re designed for one thing. And one thing only, which is to trigger those emotional, highly, emotionally charged responses and get people to act irrationally in, in conformity with the candidates position. And that’s just simply wrong and I can prove it. Doug, do those comments help us become better as a nation? No. Do they help us become more unified and caring of each other? No. Do they help us realize any part of the American dream or any part of our constitution constitutional values like Liberty equality, all those, no. And so that’s what happens. And so one of the things you talked about practical things, any time, this is just a really key thing.

Speaker 3 (42:05):

Anytime you see any information presented to you, particularly by news media, and it has more adjectives and adverbs and nouns and verbs, you know, right away that probably doesn’t have a lot of truth to it. It’s more opinion than fact. And that if something is making you feel emotionally triggered, there’s probably something doing that. And so you need to step away from that and get back to the facts and really test to see if that’s true. The more emotionally charged you are, the more highly divisive language, including a lots of adjectives and adverbs that are used in news stories. Those are telling you right away, that’s a clear, easy to spot signal that all of us can do to say, wait a minute, that seems a little extreme. Let’s go back and let’s go back to the nouns and verbs and the facts that we all know, the things that don’t charge me. And let’s see if we can figure out some truth there, because it’s out, that’s where the truth is going to lie. Not in the

Speaker 2 (43:08):

It’s, uh, a few weeks ago. Um, I was on a conversation with someone about a specific topic, and they started sharing some ideas from their perspective. And I’m like, Oh yeah, so-and-so on that side, says these things about it. And they were shocked. And I’m like, what? You’re surprised that I check out other opinions besides mine. Like, you know, I’m like one of the things that I’m finding, right? You, you just joked about are the age, right. And I’m like, as I’m getting older where, you know, I’m going to go sit down and I’m going to watch a documentary, although there was a, there’s a, there’s a wonderful Jordan Peterson documentary. I can’t remember it was on Netflix or Amazon. And I know that he’s been, you know, really large in social media and the Joe Rogan podcast and stuff like that is, um, and his book has really, and, and I’m sitting here and I’m obviously from a psychological perspective, from a sociological perspective, I’m obviously looking at it through different filters, but I was able to sit there and watch that documentary without that physiological fight or flight or what people would call a trigger.

Speaker 2 (44:07):

Right. And I think I, I fundamentally agree with you that these stances that people take are fear-based right. If we win through fear, we get them to physiologically, get into fight or flight. And marketing is all based on that. Simon Sinek talks about that and the start with why and, and stuff like that. But, but coming from a neurological perspective as a therapist and walking people through that, when there comes to their emotions and problem solving is that that reflex of reptilian brain, which is survival instinct, fight flight feed, and the other F reproduce, um, is where our basic instinct is. Right. And, and if you trigger those things, you’re going to start getting people’s attention. Then you get into the emotional, which is the mammalian brain, which is remember when that happened. Remember when you felt that way. And then you get into the neocortex, which is our rational brain, which has any here’s now why.

Speaker 2 (45:01):

Right. And that’s what marketing is based on. And these political pushes are anybody who has an opinion that they’re trying to get people to, to jump on their bandwagon about they use these things. And unfortunately they use it in a very unhealthy and manipulative way. So it’s the, the beauty of what you’re sharing and teaching to the world as you’re coming about it from the let’s start with neocortex, let’s start with a rational fact, let’s start with our physiology and our heart rate, not going through the roof. All right. And then let’s work our way

Speaker 3 (45:29):

You through these parcels. Absolutely. And I think just approaching it, you know, it’s probably overstated, but it really works, seek to understand rather than to be understood, you know, what you think, and you know, why you think it, right. You’re not going to learn anything new in a conversation where you just yell your position at someone else. Let’s try to figure out what the other side’s position is and make sure you understand that first. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (45:56):

Has there been a time where you personally got stuck in one of these things and you were able to work your way out of it using what you’re sharing

Speaker 3 (46:06):

Teaching? Yeah. I think there are been several times when that’s happened. I think all of us, it’s just normal human reaction to basically, you know, get emotionally triggered when something, you know, someone is attacking or doing something in a way that you think is not the right resolution. And you want to get going on that and having been a litigator, a successful one, I can, um, like gait with the best of them. Uh, but sometimes that’s not always the best solution. One of the things I always do in that situation, Jason has always tried to figure out, is there a way that this can be resolved short of litigation, because generally that does not work out in a good way, but you want to be really clear about that and say, what are the possibilities that are here now? Sometimes people are not willing to engage.

Speaker 3 (46:51):

They are locked in and you can’t control other people. You can only control yourself. Um, so you just have to let that go, but you’d at least want to have made the try or the attempt. And so when I see these people Dejon each other name calling or going from, you know, while we’re going to appoint the Supreme court justice, even if we lose the election and on the other side, if you do that, then we’re going to pack the court with six other justices. You know, we all look at that. And you say, you know, while you’re in that debate and you were in a power struggle, you’re sitting there going, well, I want to get that person. Well, for the rest of us sitting out here, we’re gone point both of those sound kind of unreasonable. Isn’t there a reasonable way. We can just pick on it,

Speaker 2 (47:34):

Right? Nilly is like, put your bullies in a school yard, throwing sand at each other. Who’s sandboxes better. Meanwhile, both people are just getting sand in their eyes and that’s it, right? It’s not like your sandbox does not look fun to play with. They play in. And I think that’s where we’re at.

Speaker 3 (47:52):

Well, you look at this, particularly in this time, we’re in such desperate need. As I look at the economic numbers and other people that are brighter than I am, look at them and they say, we really need some type of economic stimulus. We need these things to happen. What happened to our second or whatever number it is cares act to try to get that. Why are we spending our time? As important as, as a Supreme court seat is why are we spending all this time and attention on this? When we have, you know, literally a hundred million people above us who are sitting out here struggling, and we need to get this help. And we’re now we’re on some political power play. It’s like, what is wrong with this picture? But it’s, I understand too, that if you’re in that environment every day, it’s probably hard to break free from it. But it’s something that we, the people need to expect our leaders to break free from. And if they’re not able to do that, maybe they need to find a different position. That’s more suitable to

Speaker 2 (48:47):

Their skills. And we’re also such a young nation that I want to put this into a much more, again, a 10,000 foot perspective of we’re such a young nation and the way I’m liking everything that we’re going through is a really awkward puberty stage.

Speaker 3 (49:04):

Yeah. It’s pretty awkward.

Speaker 2 (49:05):

Right? And that our voice is cracking where pimply, we might smell a little bit. We we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re going to possibly be, you know, very awkward on, on multiple levels. And we might not know how to connect, but we outgrow this and I want people out there, especially listening to this, you know, a few minutes ago you said something that I, that I always share, Mike, well, you can’t change them, but you know, just to make a playful plug for your book, but you can send them a copy of your book in the email, right. Or you can send them to Amazon, right. So if you want it right, you’re not responsible for fixing them, but you can send them Ed’s book. So as a gift, um, but I, I, but I really do want to impress upon this to everybody listening, be patients look at the long game.

Speaker 2 (49:48):

Let’s look at the next a hundred years. Let’s look at the next 500 years, right? Yes. We have to be responsible for what’s happening for us in our family and our lives and our friends right now. But like you just said, there are people who are much more knowledgeable who have much more wisdom and much more expertise than us in all of these different areas. Unless we happen to be one of those actual people that will help us figure it out. And we do have to lean into them. We do have to trust that there are people greater than us. We still have to take our responsibility, which is what, right. You know, how do you take your civic responsibility? Seriously? You know, my, my PR my joke and many other people’s joke is we just, you know, eat a West wing reality too, but it’s also romanticized as well.

Speaker 2 (50:25):

Right. It’s not a perfect reality, but it’s, but you know, that’s the running joke amongst many of my friends is, you know, if only bar Oprah running for president and, um, but you know, but they also call out those, you know, those things on their side to be patient. I think that’s one of the things that I want to leave people with is that there is a way of solving and thinking about the next 20 years, the next 50 years, the next a hundred years, we will get through this pandemic. We will get through all these crises. Some stuff may not change. You know, we’re still going to be fighting about, I watched ’em, um, with, um, Oh man, about the chief of the adjuster, the first jail, chief justice, uh, about a day. Um, do you remember that? My mind’s just going blank, um, on the, uh, Thurgood Marshall, excuse me. And, um, and how stuff then that they were talking about in the movie hasn’t changed today. Certain beliefs, certain philosophies, right. We’re talking 40 years ago, if not more. So we have to be patient. We have to play the long game and we have to start having more and more conversations like this. So my last question for you is what’s next book is out. You’re obviously sharing this, but what’s, what’s the what’s next on your mind. What’s the next project? What are you thinking about?

Speaker 3 (51:37):

Yeah. For this project, continuing this project, the most important part for me right now with this project, there are many other people that are working on something very similar is just getting civics knowledge out there and to use this as a civics text for high school and college. And the reason why I think that’s so important is are there are some good civics education. There is some good civics education in the United States, but most of it is basically facts and figures. It’s not the, so what, it’s not the, this is what you really need to practically know. And the reason I can prove that is how many of us didn’t even understand how the, uh, and still don’t understand how the electoral college works. And that’s really practical to us cause that’s how we elect our leaders, um, our, our president. And so I think having good civics education starting with the front of that good framework.

Speaker 3 (52:30):

And secondly, the, so in addition to the, so what of civics advocate education it’s, how do we have these discussions that ought to be part of our education? How do we sit down practically as citizens exercise our duty with our fellow citizens to try to solve these issues and do it in a respectful, productive, unifying way. If we could teach those two things in civics to people that are currently in high school and college, but those of us that are outside of that, that didn’t, uh, weren’t afforded the opportunity to learn that the first time through or have forgotten it that’s really what we need to do. So with this project, um, that’s where I really want this to take off. And it’s something, that’s your eyes beyond the 2020 election. This is something that, you know, as you say is the long game, this is who we are as citizens and how we exercise our rights and duties.

Speaker 2 (53:18):

Awesome. Awesome. So again, the name of the book for those of you who are just catching up, is we, the people restoring sanity and unifying solutions to us politics, and today’s guest has been each Edward win or Edwin for a, just on a casual conversation basis. But really I do want to thank you so much. I know that so many families are struggling with S right houses divided, you know, in Florida house divided, used to be, you know, in New York, right. It’s if you’re in New York Yankees fan versus New York med span or Chicago, right. Was it the right

Speaker 3 (53:54):

Chicago green Bay. Yep. Right, right.

Speaker 2 (53:56):

Chicago green Bay in Miami, it’s like, you’re a hurricane fan or an FSU fan, and many of your kids go somewhere else. Right. Or you F or, uh, whatever it may be. But now, unfortunately, we’re now having houses divided, uh, within family members of generations of political divide. And unfortunately, I’m seeing it in my family and it’s caused a lot of issues and conflicts and, and, and there’s walls that people are hitting. So, um, you know, I know where we’re at the end of September, where not even like a month, right. Six weeks away at this 0.5 weeks away from the elections, but everybody, please get your hands on this book, please. Like, this is the gift that one should keep on giving right now to everybody, let it, let it, let freedom ring through people, learning and going back and reading and sharing these conversations. And I really want to thank you for being brave and bold enough to take the lead on this. And I’m sure there’s been blow back about it at some level. Um, right.

Speaker 3 (54:49):

It’s actually been relatively okay. When you can engage in the discussion. And I’m very fortunate, Jason, and I want to acknowledge those. Um, I waited to write this book until I retired at the end of last year. And the reason for that is, is, you know, there is blow back because if people disagree with you without figuring out what your deal is behind it, I, if they just disagree with the position they’re going to attack you and they’re going to attack your company, I can deal with me, but I don’t want other people that I’m associated with attack. So I waited until after I’ve had this, uh, uh, freedom to do this. And I hope that it is meaningful. And again, I, you know, whether it’s this book, I certainly hope you buy this, but if not, please find a book to learn about civics, learn about how we can have a better discussion. I happen to think this is the, I think it’s the only one out there that covers all these topics as succinctly as possible. At least that’s the feedback I’ve gotten as well, but definitely it’s something that we can all work on and it goes beyond the next five weeks. Uh, but get out there, uh, learn what you can, um, discuss these important issues with your friends and family in a respectful way. And most importantly, folk.

Speaker 2 (56:01):

Awesome. Yes. Please vote. If you haven’t registered yet, you still have time in most States. I know some States are already doing early, early voting, uh, have already started in some States, but, um, whoever you’re voting for just vote cause that’s right, the best way to, to put our feet on the ground and actually do something of what we believe in and do what you believe in. But again, thank you so much for hanging out with me and hanging out with our community. And I’m really excited too, to see our feedback that we have from this conversation. So those of you who are listening, please, please, please, uh, go out there and please, um, treat yourself to Ed’s book, uh, treat a loved one, treat a, treat, a non love the one Ted’s book. And especially if you want to start loving them again and, uh, please leave us a five star written review on iTunes. We’ll take any stars, just, just let us know that you’re listening and that you’re getting some value out of this because it really is important because that helps us get found by more people out there. And ed, thank you again for spending time with us today. Thank you, Jason. It was my pleasure.

Speaker 1 (56:59):

Thanks for listening to the you winning life podcast. If you are ready to minimize your personal and professional struggles and maximize your potential, we would love it. If you subscribe so you don’t miss an episode, you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook at Jason Wasser, L M F T.



Jason Wasser, LMFT is a Florida Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Neuro Emotional Technique Practitioner and Certified Entrepreneur Coach.
He runs a full service online Therapy & Coaching practice in South Florida and is the host of the You Winning Life Podcast.

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