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Seligman, S. (2021). Citizen/Psychoanalyst/OG. Psychoanal. Dial., 31(1):124-125.

(2021). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 31(1):124-125


Stephen Seligman, DMH

Walking down the street for my morning coffee on the Saturday after the election, regretting that I’d forgotten the notes to jump-start this piece about political dialogue with patients, I checked my phone. No new vote counts. The slow drip of election returns was becoming a new form of Trump-driven exhaustion.

Just as the COVID line let me into the store, the counterwomen shouted, “Biden Won!” My San Francisco neighborhood exploded into elbow bumping, shouting, jumping, fists in the air, cars honking, patriotic songs blaring from windows. The weight that had been lifting all week seemed to rise to the wispy California clouds. My German immigrant friend said the German expression is “breaking the rings around my heart.”

I got a kick out of reminding my neighbor and longtime (45 years—eek!) politics/psychoanalysis study group comrade about the Biden/Harris campaign’s line that “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House” … . Turning the eviction tables on the ultimate real estate oligarch squatter. I myself was tried and acquitted of trespass, removed from a building occupation in Harvard Yard by State Police in 1969.

Most patients this week have been edgy but relieved; a couple don’t like the Prez but fear the Left more; some progressives lamented the election, even as Biden gathered strength. I resonated with some, challenged others. Sometimes I’ve taken these views as I might take up other “analytic content:” one man’s apprehension about driving through California’s “purple” Central Valley linked with his parents’ pre-immigration terror in their original country.

[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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