I have been watching your campaign for months now. and now I have reached the point where I feel the need to respond to something directly. I have chosen to write to you now, because with that particular statement at the political fundraiser, your campaign became more personal for me.
I am a psychologist in private practice, and have been practicing psychology for the past twenty years. My area of specialty is rehabilitation: specifically, my clients are coping with the ramification of disability, medical illness and injury. In addition to that, I also work with clients who are facing depression, anxiety and difficulties in their relationships with others. I am very blessed to be able to practice the profession that I have loved for years.
Mr. Romney, I need to tell you that the vast, vast majority of my clients who are not employed would like nothing more than to be employed. The idea of needing to take a “handout” is anathema to my clients. Employment is not simply about the money. It is about identity and self-respect. My clients do not expect the government to solve all their problems, and they do not blame their difficulties on the federal government. To say that half of my clients wish to be seen as victims, or not paying taxes - is not only grossly untrue, but it is very insulting.
The comments that you made also struck me within my own home. Six and a half years ago my husband sustained a disabling injury which necessitated multiple surgical interventions, and more than a year of rehabilitation. My husband’s story is one of success. He is a professor, loves being a professor, and works for an institution of higher education that values him and his contribution. Because of the length of time of his illness, he did receive Social Security. But, he, and his employer, were able to benefit from programs within Social Security, designed to provide a benefit cushion while the person is trying to reintegrate into the work environment. Simply put – he, his employer, their long term disability company, and yes, the federal government, all came together to give my husband the best chance that he had to returning to gainful employment (and of course, pay our fair share of taxes). I am proud to say that he has returned to full time employment, and as a family, we are proud of the people and the programs that were part of the support system that helped to make this happen.
Mr. Romney, I encourage you to see individuals for who they are; as opposed to Democrats and Republicans: with me or against me. Black and white thinking rarely serves as a benefit. In my personal politics I am not afraid of looking beyond party label to consider the entire candidate. Perhaps you might consider that, as you move forward in your campaign.
Marcia Liss, Ph.D.
Dr. Liss is a psychologist in private practice in Rhode Island, and has been practicing psychology for the past twenty years. Her specialty includes working with individuals who have experienced disability and medical illness. In addition to her practice, she enjoys spending time with her husband, children and their two dogs, and is an avid quilter. She and her family are proud members of the 47%.