Politics on Edge: Mental health, social media and the fabric of community

They said WHAT? (© JLP/Jose L. Pelaez/Corbis)
They said WHAT? (© JLP/Jose L. Pelaez/Corbis)

On election day, Tuesday, November 8, the City Club of Corvallis will explore the impacts of the current political climate on our day-to-day lives.

National politics have long featured mudslinging and dirty tricks, but today’s unprecedented presidential campaign fosters a different set of worries for some: threats of physical violence, reminders of past sexual abuse and a pervading lack of trust. One campaign’s offices have been firebombed. A group of mental health therapists has gone so far as to raise the alarm over a culture of scapegoating, ridiculing, intolerance and anti-immigrant rhetoric. They stress that their concern is directed less toward an individual than toward a set of ideas and public practices.

How do the effects of such threatening public displays show up in community life, and how are people coping? Is abusive behavior limited, or does it reflect a more widespread pattern? If the latter, how can we maintain a respectful tone in political discourse even as we express honest disagreements over the country’s direction?

Panelists include Jill McAllister, a Unitarian-Universalist minister and adjunct professor in the School of History, Religion and Philosophy at Oregon State University; Jana Svoboda, a licensed clinical therapist in Corvallis; and Dan Faltesek, assistant professor of New  Media Communications at OSU who studies the political use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels.

Doors will open at 11:30 at the Boys & Girls Club, 1112 NW Circle. The meeting is free and open to the public and will begin at 12 noon and conclude by 1:15. A catered lunch is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. To reserve lunch, send email to info@cityclubofcorvallis.org by Friday, November 4. You can also pay for lunch online with your credit card.

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