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Thursday, 11 October 2018 06:57

The Danger of Lies: Kavanaugh, Climate and Our Collective Health

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photo credit: By Cameron Strandberg from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada(Photo: Cameron Strandberg from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada)

A few days after Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by several women and who lied under oath in his confirmation hearings, was voted onto the Supreme Court, a new climate report warned of a "strong risk of crisis as early as 2040." These two news stories may at first appear to have nothing to do with each other, but in fact both point to a dangerous trend toward disregarding truth in favor of partisan politics.

Of the FBI's Kavanaugh report, Sen. Kamala Harris has said, "This was not a search for the truth," and indeed, the majority of senators just signaled that they don't believe that truth needs to be coupled with justice, that it's okay for a member of the highest court to lie under oath. This is deeply dangerous for all of us, and for the health of our country and of our planet. 

Let's remember that the Trump administration has repeatedly called climate change a "hoax." And yet even the Trump administration itself recently put out a report that predicted climate change of a disastrous 7 degrees by 2100. The logic of this particular report was that the rising temperatures were inevitable, so there was no reason to try to stem it. In other words, as in the Kavanaugh confirmation, what was really being implied is that the truth doesn't matter, and that we should game the system to our own advantage.

I know firsthand that when we live out of alignment with the truth we can't solve our problems. In my 20s and early 30s I had a series of undiagnosed health problems. I'd get treatment for one problem, and then the symptoms would come back. It was only when I finally began to remember consciously and tell the story of a sexual assault when I was very young that my body was able to fully heal. And only once I understood and told my real truth—first to myself and then to others—did my symptoms really go away.

I now work professionally with women, coaching them to tell their own truthful stories. Over the years, I've listened to and helped hundreds of women tell their stories of sexual abuse and trauma. These stories are difficult. They are full of pain. And they are often full of silences that need to be broken, like the silence of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. These courageous women break the silence not because they have a political agenda or have anything to prove to anyone, but because they want to come into their own truth and health. And as people tell their stories—first to themselves and then to others—I have witnessed amazing turn-arounds in health and wellness


Nadia Colburn is a writing teacher and coach who helps women find the power of their authentic voice and story. She holds a PhD from Columbia and a BA from Harvard and her writing has been widely published in such places as The New Yorker, The Boston Globe Magazine, Yes! Magazine and elsewhere.  She writes about the power of voice and stories at www.nadiacolburn.com.