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Bodnar, S. (2017). Horton Hears a Who, and I Do Too!. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(2):127-129.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(2):127-129

Horton Hears a Who, and I Do Too!

Susan Bodnar, Ph.D.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”— Horton

In Dr. Seuss’s (1954) beloved classic, the lumbering elephant hears the residents of Whoville, a minuscule town living on a speck of dust, crying for help.

I can’t imagine a clinician who wouldn’t be able to identify with Horton post-election 2016. We therapists have always seen and heard aspects of living invisible or silent to others. Our sensitivity often positions us to recognize what can’t always be tolerated by others, the known which can’t be said. Lately, like Horton protecting his speck of dust, it seems we have carried the weight of the world on our shoulders.

The week after the election, person after person fell into my chair or my couch, head in hands, emotionally wrecked, not having slept, asking questions I couldn’t answer.

A fifteen-year-old African American gender-neutral person implored, “Is there a place for me now?”

A child of immigrants from South America lamented, “My father found safe sanctuary here, a democracy that enabled his children to grow up safe and go to college and own a home. Now he is dying of cancer. Is democracy also dying?”

White, comfortable, and older, a seventy-five-year-old woman wiped her eyes wondering about the abortion she had in 1968. “It’s taken me years to resolve my decision. Will I now be deemed a criminal?”

An African American woman angrily grabbed at her arms, unable to keep the tears from running down her neck. “This is the third reconstruction. What will happen to black America if the white supremacists have an office in the White House?”

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[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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