Before you pull a “cancel culture” rejecting of my opening prediction, please read what follows.

There is an observation about human nature which is, if you can’t get another person to understand how or why you feel something, get them to feel it.

If you’re unable or unwilling to consider how an African American or woman feels or why they feel it, what would you feel and how would you react…

  • If as soon as you said something it was scoffed at, rejected, derided and ridiculed
  • If you nevertheless persisted and attempted to make a compelling or convincing case for what you were saying and you were quickly shut down
  • If you further protested you would be retaliated against in a way that could include brutality, bullying, intimidation and even violence
  • If no matter what you did or didn’t do, you felt defenseless
  • If this wasn’t just a single incident but something that had gone on for not just years, but decades

I would have difficulty believing anything you said other than that you would feel fear, anger, rage and powerless.

To make my point more visual and visceral, imagine that every time an incident as described above occurred, it was like a screaming cat in your personality that you had to lock in a cellar, because if it dared express itself it could risk annihilation. Then imagine repeating that the next time it happened and the next and then the next hundred or thousand times.

Imagine having a cellar full of a thousand not just screaming, but starving cats that you had to keep under lock and key.

And then imagine a moment in time when a Harvey Weinstein or George Floyd type incident opens that cellar door just a crack.

Doesn’t it seem that at the first opening with a ray of light penetrating that cellar that there would be a mad rush by all those cats fueled by the decades long pent up fear, anger, rage and powerlessness.

Then imagine that there was sufficient support to keep the cellar door open permanently with insufficient forces available to re-close it and re-lock it.

I can already feel you pushing back and wanting to reject everything I have just said. And I want to thank you if by chance you have read this far.

But please, just imagine if all the bulleted points above were true for you, how could you not respond the same way as the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter supporters do.

And BTW if you’re a dedicated supporter of President Trump, isn’t it because you have felt all of those bullets from the people that you perceived as acting superior, arrogant and condescending towards you. Doesn’t it seem that with his surprising win in 2016 that he opened a door and an opening for all the frustrations and disregard you have felt from Washington and Democratic elitist, intellectuals for a long time.

I’m reminded of the iconic 1977 movie, Network, where reporter, Howard Beale, proclaimed to the following to the world:

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

We all know things are bad — worse than bad — they’re crazy.

It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”

Well, I’m not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad.

You’ve gotta say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!”

Here’s the issue. Is Howard Beale expressing the frustrations of the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter protestors or the anti-protestors trying to shut them down?

One thing’s for sure, the louder both sides are, the less likely they are to start listening to each other any time soon.

Perhaps we’d all do well to heed the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind…” and doomed, we may add.


  • Mark Goulston, M.D.

    Author, speaker, podcast host, psychiatrist

    Dr. Mark Goulston is the inventor and developer of Surgical Empathy an approach that helps people to break their attachments to counterproductive modes of functioning and frees them to connect with more productive and healthier alternatives. He is the host of the “My Wakeup Call” podcast where he interviews people on the wakeup calls that changed who they are and made them better human beings and at being human and the host of the LinkedIn Live show, "No Strings Attached." He is a Founding Member of the Newsweek Expert Forum. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on deep listening, radical empathy and real influence with his book, “Just Listen,” becoming the top book on listening in the world, translated into twenty languages and a topic he speaks and teaches globally. He is an advisor, coach, mentor and confidante to CEO’s, founders and entrepreneurs helping them to unlock all their internal blocks to achieving success, fulfillment and happiness. Originally a UCLA professor of psychiatry and crisis psychiatrist for over 25 years, and former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, Dr. Goulston's expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations including being a boots on the ground suicide prevention specialist and serving as an advisor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial. Including, “Just Listen,” he is the author or co-author of nine books with multiple best sellers. He writes or contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Biz Journals, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Psychology Today and has appeared as an psychological expert in the media including: CNN, Headline News, msNBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Psychology Today and was the subject of a PBS special. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.