The BLOG: Lifestyle

Famed psychiatrist urges passion this political season

Dr. Keith Ablow is a compass point on our cultural map. He’s a familiar face and reassuring voice to folks who watch Fox News, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Dr. Oz and just about any other television/radio broadcast that produces current-event content. Board certified in both psychiatry and forensic psychiatry, Dr. Ablow is a regular guest on programs that seek to offer professional insight into people who have captured our pop-cultural fascination with aberrant behavior.  In the past he’s focused laser-like perspective on hot-button topics such as Chaz Bono’s gender transitioning, the murder of Casey Anthony’s daughter, Caylee, and the homicide of Scott Peterson’s wife, Laci, and their unborn son. The doctor has also openly offered interventional counseling to a drug-dependent national radio entertainer in denial, and marriage counseling for a publicly tortured couple in the private vortex of torrid emotional infidelity. For Keith Ablow, coping with controversy and finding clarity through truth-telling are his personal and professional passions.

According to Kelsey, his gal Friday, the charismatic clinician clocks work weeks of 70 hours and more. With offices in Boston and New York, in addition to maintaining the routines of a regular practice, Ablow offers virtual psych-checkups via Skpye and phone to his sophisticated, world-trekking patients. Routinely, he’s contributed medical scholarship to professional periodicals and lectures. The magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and Johns Hopkins Medical School is also a best-selling author of fictional and non-fictional scripts. Rejecting the notion Dr. Frank Clevenger is his fictionalized alter-ego in the series of psycho-sexual thrillers he pens, Dr. Ablow says truth-seeking, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Clevenger is a crime-sleuthing physician from Massachusetts who can be better understood in the plot twisters to trace exaggerations of the real doctor’s personality strengths and weaknesses.

A plethora of professional information exists about the complex man who wears as many hats as there are days in the week. But in person, inside his meticulously Shaker-styled Boston office, Dr. Ablow appears to be as relaxed, and seemingly conventional, as his unassuming blue jeans and black leather driving moccasins. Behind the handsome wooden door of his architecturally digested office is an organic round-tabled reception area that’s as warm as the doctor’s demeanor. The building’s facade and interior compliment the style of the man whose crisp open-collared shirt matches his handshake, and his affable simple introduction, “Hi, I’m Keith.”

For this interview Dr. Ablow was asked to respond to the questions “What can we do to keep peace in the polarized election cycle that finds family, friends and neighbors on opposite sides of the political fence?” As rhetoric rages, sarcasm spreads and passions peak, “What’s the best way to to cope with bipartisan acrimony before and after the election?” Hearing the questions, the man of minds smiled, calculated his response with the deliberation of a diagnosis then said Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t worry about blood shed as he surgically removes a malignant brain tumor. Our inflamed conversations are a necessary part of the process of our nation’s recovery and return to good health.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Dr. Keith Ablow

With a clear-eyed gaze that frequently included smiles and squints, the doctor presented his multi-platformed case against pursuit of the parlance of peace. His retort had nothing to do with polite coping mechanisms, instead he re-directed the focus of our thought-provoking time together. For the doctor, emotional, semi-combustible outbursts are fundamentals of growth as people fight passionately for their political persuasion. His reasoning is, as it was when our nation was conceived, our population is again of two minds. Anger is the expression of our political contest of wills. Dr. Ablow, like many conservatives, sees our national consciousness slowly slipping away from the ideals of its founders. Fighting for the moral compass of our country’s culture is not served by silence. Compliance with fear based political correctness has been the enemy of our past and threatens our future.

Sterile protocols and the practiced effect of professional pretense were scrubbed from the doctor’s paneled office when he questioned why it’s wrong to “have a pair of balls” when discussing how far from the Second Amendment we’ve strayed. As lobbyists propose sanctions that erode constitutional principals, Dr. Ablow suggests an urgent return to the consciousness of another of Massachusetts’ natives. Henry David Thoreau’s essay on “Civil Disobedience” is seminal to our national identity. The work is credited with inspiring JFK, Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as Mahatma Gandhi. It espouses individuals have a duty to avoid acquiescence to governmental injustices. Alblow explained psychological abandonment of our autonomous national pride is spreading like a malignancy and is a peril of our times. Metaphorically speaking he added, “It’s not healthy to ignore the silent killer that insidiously invades healthy bodies and starves it of vitality.” We need to press our point, declare our independence, argue our consciousness and fight for the truths we hold to be self-evident.

Assessment of Hillary Clinton’s ceaselessly disingenuous dalliances with the truth and Mr. Trump’s chronic displays of narcissism were addressed in two other cursory professional explanations of potential presidential behaviors. Without hesitation Dr. Ablow characterized Clinton’s propensity to lie and deceive as profoundly problematic, believing her world vision would point our country in a toxic direction of increasing governmental dependence, stripping away our individual and collective ambitions, initiatives, and moral compass. If Clintonian dogma is imposed, the doctor believes the nation will experience further erosion of America’s founding principals. He anticipates many people will vote for Clinton simply because she’s a woman, following the same train of thoughtlessness many voters opted for with Barack Obama, voting for him because he’s black. The doctor’s unexpected take evaluating Trump’s narcissistic dialogue pointed the compass in the opposite direction, saying his sense of grandeur will positively impact the country’s energy, re-establishing self-reliance, and pride. Rather than being awash in malignant compliance, governmental ideology and apology, a rhetorical mantra of greatness will become contagious and liberating.

Dr. Ablow is of the opinion that the responsibilities of the office of President of the United States would ultimately add a sense of gravitas to Mr. Trump’s demeanor. As a psychiatrist he believes Trump capable of growing with the job. Authentic but non-parsed controversial statements of deportations and walls may be polished then reiterated as metaphorical negotiating points used by the man who lives The Art of the Deal. Our session ended with Dr. Ablow saying he can’t predict who will win the election Nov. 8, but it’s his hope Donald Trump becomes president because, in his opinion, Trump’s personality better suits the job description and our original national declarations of independence.

The article as planned, seeking advice on how to avoid acrimony to keep peace in the polarized election cycle, is scraped. Dr. Ablow’s professional opinion redirects controversial anger and arguments re-framing them with clarity as symptoms and salves for what ails our nation. Unexpectedly this is an invitation to reflect upon wisdom of American patriots of 1776 Philadelphia, a transcendentalist from 1849 Concord, and a psychiatrist from 2016 Boston. History reminds us silence and adherence to the dictates of political correctness are antithetical to the tenants of our Constitution and harmful to our national well-being. The doctor’s revolutionary, patriotic prescription: While there’s still time — SPEAK UP, political correctness is a malignancy and we need to cut it out.

Contact Diane Kilgore at [email protected].