American Priorities

Susan Cooke

It’s wonderful to see the country fight back against the Trump administration–well–at least much of the country. I hope the others will someday come around to understanding that people and kindness coming first is part of what makes a country and a culture great.

No matter who is President, we the people will always need to remind each other about kindness, and then make decisions from there. Even protection from enemies can be engineered with the most kindness possible with some effort. Whatever we do that’s noble in this country will demonstrate to other countries what we’re truly made of. It would be good if they could see such values right now since many of them must be quite disillusioned with us.

In my forthcoming book Stress in the American City I write about kindness and a few other things that help to make our lives more peaceful, happier, and healthier in both mind and body. These include paying vastly more attention to mental health and what harms it, caring for and providing more nature for all (humans desperately need it, especially in cities, and it reduces crime), making sure Americans get help with reducing our increasing isolation from one another by providing more gathering places such as coffee shops in every neighborhood (feeling part of a community close to home  is critical for good mental health), and respecting the science that tells us we must save the environment rather than continuing to wreck our children’s future (that is, we need to get on with practices we know will help to keep global warming from being a permanent, irreparable tragedy).

There are many more practices and issues we need to take off the bottom of priority lists and move to the top, Without paying attention to the wellbeing of all living things on the planet and caring for the planet itself, tons of money won’t keep us from having the sicker and shorter lives now seen in many large cities including American cities. Enough money, or we could say adequate money, and more peaceful, less driven “success”-and-wealth-oriented lives for most of us will help everyone live longer, allay more anxiety and depression, and help provide some leftover funds to lift those at the bottom. Research shows that even the rich are less happy in a terribly unequal culture.

I ask government at all levels to put wellbeing and kindness at the top of its priority lists, and I believe everything else will fall into place in ways much better for all than what we’ve seen lately.

Trump goes down in history

Susan Cooke


Even if President Trump wins his border wall or whatever else he’s making children and parents at our borders suffer for, he’ll surely have created for himself a reputation that even de-nuking North Korea won’t be able to wipe away. In addition to being cruel he seems astonishingly ignorant about the mental health effects, now and in the future, on the families.

He’s always sounded quite interested in being known as the guy who was the best or the first in history to do one thing or another he sees as important. I think he will go down in history as the most self-involved and heartless U.S. President. He’ll also be remembered for his rudeness, lack of empathy, ability to lie easily with no self-judgment, and lack of even decent manners toward longtime allies. I doubt a Nobel prize is in his future, not now. Even if he won a Nobel, many people would still think of him as a destructive President and not a very nice human being. “Sad.”