From the Desk of Matthew Dowling
P.O. Box 1702
Uniontown, PA 15401
For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Dowling
Letter to the Editor: “Fetterman is brave for taking steps to get the treatment he needs.”
By Matthew Dowling
Over the last several days this story has been on my radar, and I have chosen not to comment or say much publicly – but I think now may be the time to end my silence. The story: “Fetterman Checks In to Hospital for Treatment of Clinical Depression.”
Let me start by dispelling the rumors that I am a perfect human being who can show empathy and understanding in every situation. I’ve been on the sidelines or directly engaged in politics since the early two-thousands, so my mind started thinking the things that political consultants get paid to pose as questions: “was there a disorder that was concealed from the public during the campaign?” Or “why did his wife stay back in Braddock rather than being in D.C. for the State of the Union?”
Then, the less aggressive, more human, perhaps more likeable part of my brain kicked in and suddenly I was flushed with sincere empathy and concern for Senator Fetterman – a man I have personally sparred with during my time in the Pennsylvania House and his time as Lieutenant Governor.
The decision to seek psychiatric help could not be one of ease and that’s why I felt the need to write and speak out. See, I have had my own personal challenges; some that I have lived out publicly and others that I have silently confronted. For the past several years I, like 13.2% of Americans, have been on antidepressants. The only difference is I refused them for a long time when my practitioners suggested them, because I worried about my political future and “what people would think.” And that was with the legal protection of HIPPA being on my side, but I have had dinner with enough Doctors to know that veil is sometimes pulled back.
This will come as no surprise because it’s been widely covered, and I’ve tried to be transparent about the fact that during my time in office I developed a substance abuse problem with alcohol. The isolation that is created by a divide of the imaginary versus the reality becomes staggering. We, as politicians, spend so much of our time telling you, the voter, why we are the best to earn your vote that many times the elected are placed on unreasonable pedestals. Voters, at least those who are not complete cynics, have been conditioned to expect perfection.
So, with all this in mind, I have three thoughts to leave with you:
One, Senator Fetterman’s courage to ask for help, something politicians and men are not taught to do, should be accepted with the highest regard. I can’t see our politics ever aligning, but I wish him a quick recovery and I think his openness and honesty through this journey should be commended. Honesty should be the number one virtue we look for in a politician.
Two, for my colleagues who are still out there circulating petitions and knocking on endless doors – let’s treat the voters as if they are the intelligent, understanding human beings that they are. Let’s stop checking the boxes for the voters and start running on how we are going to improve the world for our children, and our children’s children. Let’s win elections based on ideas and not on the fact that we are middle class, relatively good looking, white men, with 2.5 kids and a beautiful wife on a glossy mail piece or billboard. (I lucked into the formula. My wife is one of the most beautiful redheads I’ve ever seen, I have two strapping young boys, and I guess our dog Brooks equals .5 of a kid.)
Finally, voters demand more. Hold our feet to the fire and get the answers you need to hear, don’t allow rhetoric to pass as ideas. Accept when a politician say’s, “I don’t know, I’ve never considered that” and make them circle back with an answer after they have had time to think. But, at the end of the day remember that those who are public servants are flawed humans not much different from those who join you around your holiday tables.
Those experiencing depression or having thoughts of suicide can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255 or text “HOME” to the Crisis Textline at 741741. Anyone facing personal challenges with alcohol, drug, or other addiction to seek help from resources available to them, including: Fayette County Drug and Alcohol Commission Inc. (FCDAC Inc.) by calling 724-438-3576 or Recovery Centers of America (RCA) at 412-871-4410.
Matthew Dowling is a husband and father who resides in Uniontown, Pennsylvania where he served as a State Representative for six years and currently hosts the podcast, Commonalities, on WMBS radio. He is a contributing creator with the national forum BabyBoomers.com and a published author. Write him at Matthew.Dowling@Coordinated360.com.
# # # # #