What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


Apathy is not an option  

Posted on October 19, 2020 by Katy Byrne

What I hear from people constantly these days is, it’s just too much. We are worn around the edges. We are digging deep to stay resourceful in critical, trying times.  

When I despair, I remember seeing thousands of people converging and holding hands, back in the ‘60s. The Youngblood’s played: “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another, right now,” and John Lennon: “Imagine all the people…living life in peace.” 

I ask myself, can we revive values like caring about the common good? I wonder what stopped that momentum of hope and inspiration, from President Kennedy, to brother Bobby, to Dr. King, to the students at Kent State, many activists and leaders for positive change, with dreams for our democracy, who were permanently silenced. 

What eroded our collective optimism? Sometimes looking back helps us understand how to shift patterns as we go forward. Was it that we got discouraged with too much violence or did corporate power roll over us? Marianne Williamson wrote: “The bullets that shot them psychically struck us all.” 

I remember at the early age of 13 feeling incapacitated with grief hearing of the Kennedy assassination. Even that young I knew something was forever changed. Or did all that people power die because, as Eric Utne puts it, “at some point, boomers lost their way, becoming more concerned with making a living than changing the world. We bought into a system that we knew was wrong.” 

I believe we, the people, can make a better world. Williamson budges us: “We, the citizens of the freest, most powerful nation on earth, have become oddly disempowered. Short-term economic gain has become so solidly our bottom line that scarcely anyone dares question the moral damage this is doing to the American soul.” 

What can we do now to pass on a peaceful world instead of powerlessness, to the next generation? 

We can each do something; we have a tremendous capacity to give service or take some steps in our lives to create positive change, any steps. I witness great power, great love, great pain, and learning and growth in my therapy office. I’m inspired by seeing people who never learned communication 101 learning it now and passing it onto their kids. 

Apathy is not an option. Many friends are anxiously awaiting their voting ballots, with huge enthusiasm, nervousness, and fervor. We want a safe world and it will only arise from we, the people. 

Utne writes: “When some young people say, ‘Ok, Boomer,’ I can’t blame them. We old ones know better, or at least we should. But what young people may not understand is that we were a hopeful generation. That hope, in some cases, blinded us. But many of us are starting to see the world differently now, and we are ready to join you on the barricades.” 

It’s on all of us now. We can’t point somewhere and say: “they will fix it.” We have to take responsibility for how we act, for our participation, for our town and relationships. As the song says, we are the world.


One thought on “Apathy is not an option  

  1. My father was a Navy Veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor. I told him he was born at the wrong time. 1918! His dad was out of work for most of the Depression. 1929-1939. My dad was always hungry. Yet, he always had faith in America. That we would rise to the challenge. He spent his youth at war. We have been given our own challenges. Fires in our beautiful wine country. Coronavirus. Division. Yet, we can continue to bring about a better tomorrow.

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