A “cognitive distortion” is known in therapist circles as a false thought that causes suffering to its victim. Black-and-white thinking is a cognitive distortion wherein its victim thinks in extremes, discounting a third happier, healthier and more realistic choice.

America is suffering a terrible disease. It’s not poverty. It’s not taxes. It’s not immigration laws or terrorism. Well, it is those things, but what America is really suffering from right now is a bad case of black or white thinking.

Either you are with Donald Trump or against him. Either you want all the undocumented immigrants thrown out or you don’t. Either you want strong government regulation and services or you don’t want government involved at all.

Whatever happened to moderation? Compromise? Balance? Balance was one of the principles our country was founded on. Balance is the whole reason our Founding Fathers decided to have three branches of government designed to hold equal power.

Let’s face it, most Americans don’t want to throw out all the immigrants, nor do they want a massive influx of immigrants. Most Americans want to keep Social Security, Medicare and the military, but they do not want to pay high taxes. Most Americans want the freedom to live the way they choose, but also want some rule of law and to ensure a clean environment, decent schools and productive businesses.

Take conservatism to its logical extreme and you have anarchy, extreme poverty and a ruined environment. Take liberalism to its logical extreme and you have limited freedom, a stagnant economy and lack of innovation.

Let’s take a cue from the professionals and try to find the middle way in America.

Meghan Walsh

licensed clinical social worker

Portland