Guest post from H. John Lyke and Kathryn L. Robyn, authors of Political Straight Talk
Inside the Book:
Title: Political Straight Talk Author: H. John Lyke with Kathryn L. Robyn Publisher: iUniverse Genre: Political Format: Ebook
In writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, our Founding Fathers established a democratic republic with a solid political basis. What they wrote was the political map that future representatives would need to follow to conduct the people's business in an efficient and effective manner. As long as they faithfully carried out the people's will, our democracy and republic would function in a way congruent with our forebears' wishes. What in the world happened? H. John Lyke, a board-certified psychologist and professor emeritus at Metropolitan State College of Denver, and the author of multiple political psychology books, suggests that ever since George Washington retired as captain of our ship of state, subsequent presidents and members of Congress have failed to use the sailing chart of the Constitution. Instead, they've chosen to pursue their own and their political parties' self-interests. Lyke uses psychological principles to explore the reasons why our government has fallen so low, and in the voice of a kind but determined therapist, he offers simple and viable solutions to get us back to following our map.
Why Bother Writing about Politics?
Writing about politics is a strange thing. For one, ongoing events make your work obsolete the minute you type the last period. This has certainly been true for John (H. John Lyke) and me, the co-authors of Political Straight Talk: A Prescription for Healing Our Broken System of Government. In fact, the book started (before I even got involved with it) as a blog that John used to keep his previous book, What Would Our Founding Fathers Say?—How Today’s Leaders Have Lost Their Way, current and relevant. Once what was being called “gridlock” in Washington, DC, was clearly not going to loosen up, he knew he had to put those blogs into a new book. Now we find ourselves scrambling with blogs again, trying to keep PST current and relevant.
Because of this terrible speed of being in our time (apologies to Milan Kundera), we don’t approach political writing in quite the same way as other news junkies tend to do. We focus on what John calls “the simple truths of life,” those values that make up a human being’s integrity—virtue, empathy–compassion, and being of service—as well as the psychology of the players and the electorate. These things are universal truths. These things our Founding Fathers held in the forefront in their dealings with one another, though they submerged them in their dealings with those they saw as different: the Native Peoples, the enslaved people abducted from Africa, white men who did not own property or worked for others, and all women in general. As the new government got settled and we developed as a country, the struggles of these groups, as well as the immigrants arriving in waves from all over the world, to achieve the same status of liberty and justice that was promised to all, in the Constitution, would become the history of the progressive movements.
That brings us to today. Events impact these things, but these things don’t themselves change. So that’s how we approach our political writing. We look at the values written down by the Founders and promulgated (or opposed) by today’s politicians and contrast them with the subtext, what values are actually being promoted by the actions of our past and present leaders. Consequently, we find ourselves digging into a complex web of psychological process that affect all of us—how we might think we believe one thing but actually believe something else, as revealed in our behavior.
When we started writing like this—for John, over 15 years ago, and for me when I started working with John around five years ago—no one else was doing it. Now we see the words we use—ego defense mechanisms, narcissism, cognitive dissonance, empathy, compassion, public service, and the like—becoming more and more common. We hope we helped to add that piece of awareness to the national discussion of what keeps the country running well for everyone—or doesn’t, as the case may be.
Please visit the book’s website at www.lykeablebooks4u.com to see what’s happening now. You can find our blogs there as well. And please join us in the discussion to make this a country we can become proud of if you have never been or again if you once were. Mind you, we will ask you to reflect deeply into your thoughts and report honorably on how you feel and why.
Meet the Author:
Dr. Lyke earned his master's degree in clinical psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia and his doctorate at Michigan State University. He is a board-certified psychologist and professor emeritus at Metropolitan State College of Denver, and was a clinical psychologist for the State of Colorado for many years. He has written the political psychology books The Impotent Giant and What Would Our Founding Fathers Say: How Our Leaders Have Lost Their Way, and co-authored a psychology self-help book, Walking on Air without Stumbling. He lives in Denver and has three grown children and four grandchildren. To find out more, please visit lykeablebooks4u. com, where you can read more about him as well as follow his current and archived blog posts. More important to John, however, is that you join the discussion at lykeablebooks.wordpress.com, where the blog originates and you can post your comments.