Today, V explains the new Florida law that allows military veterans to skip the university and certification requirements to teach school in the state. How do you know when your political advocacy is unwise or even ungodly? There are 5 questions Christians claim you need to ask yourself to guard against false prophets, is it working? We’ll also take a SWING at Pickleball, the hottest new sport with roots to the pro-choice movement of the 1970s, good for grandma then, good for grandma now! Then, V sits down with Jason Kander, former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer and author of “Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD,” for a meaningful conversation about how he put his mental health before his political career. Jason shares what role masculinity plays in therapy, why getting help is a sign of strength, and how to support others who are also battling depression and PTSD.
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V Spehar, Jason Kander
V Spehar 00:01
Hey friends, it’s Tuesday, August 2nd 2022. Welcome to V INTERESTING, where we break down the viral and very interesting news you might have missed. I’m V SPEHAR and on today’s show, we’ll get into how Florida waived the requirements for veterans to be able to teach school. We’ll play a quick round of pickleball and talk about its origin in women’s rights. And later, we’ll chat with former US Intelligence Officer Jason Kander about PTSD. His new memoir talks about getting help even when you feel like your experiences aren’t worthy of it.
Jason Kander 00:57
One of the big things I learned is that ranking my trauma against other people’s trauma didn’t actually diminish my trauma. All it did is delay my ability to heal.
V Spehar 01:06
All that and more coming up on today’s V INTERESTING from Lemonada Media. Let’s be smart together. Okay, now it is time for the headlines. First up. As of right now, it is even easier for veterans to just become a school teacher in Florida. Teachers in Florida in general are required to get a master’s degree in education and this thing called a teacher certificate. But back in 2018, Florida passed a law that allowed schools to waive those requirements for veterans looking to become classroom teachers in grades K through six. Now, anything over sixth grade, the vets still didn’t need the teaching certificate, but they were only allowed to teach like science, tech engineering or math, those STEM subjects, and they did have to have a master’s in that subject to qualify to teach anything basically like middle school through high school. Well, Florida under a new law called the military veterans certification Pathway Program, which took effect on July 1st. Veterans who want to teach school are no longer limited on what subjects they can teach. And they don’t need that certificate. They don’t need a master’s. They don’t need anything but a will to shape the minds of children. And then they can just teach anything they want from K through 12. All they need to qualify are at least two years of military service with an honorable or a medical discharge to have completed just 60 college credits in any major with a minimum C+ grade average and a passing score on a made up Florida subject expertise exam. If you could check those boxes, you can get a job at any Florida public or charter school. So, why did Florida do this? On the State Department of Education website it explains quote, Florida is proud that over 1.5 million veterans make Florida home. The Florida Department of Education commits to the recruitment of military personnel, veterans and their spouses to continue their service by teaching and leading in Florida schools. Florida ranks 27 out of 50 states for education K through 12. There is also a teacher shortage. So, you know, like I guess they’re trying to solve one problem with the other but it’s creating more problems. And teachers have spoken out against the measure and claim under DeSantis Florida schools have become a battleground for a host of cultural and political issues from encouraging teachers to carry guns in school, defunding schools that imposed mask mandates, banning curriculum DeSantis deems to be CRT to that terrible don’t say gay bill and now this Veterans thing. Some are questioning what is really behind the governor’s policies. Sidenote, earlier reporting said this policy of waiving all the requirements would extend to the military spouses. It does not, it does not, I checked into it. I was just as surprised as you were. It turns out that it’s just some Facebook nonsense that the state has since clarified is absolutely not true. This waiving other requirements is only for veterans. Now, we’ll chat more about this with our guest former US Intelligence Officer Jason Kander later in the show. Okay, my friends, we are gonna have a conversation about religion and politics, exactly the two things we’re not supposed to talk about in polite society, right? But here on V INTERESTING. We’re going to create a little safe space to have this conversation because it’s important. And we’re just going to take this moment we’re going to listen; we’re going to learn and then we’re gonna we’re gonna just put it right back in its box on the shelf until we need to use it again. So to have this conversation about Christian nationalism, I want to open up some space for us to hear about these things. So here’s a little level setting. One, I am not talking about Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, evangelicals are really anyone who believes in Jesus as their religious founder or leader. That is not what Christian nationalism is. I am also not talking about patriotic folks who love this country with a passion, dedication. Maybe you’re even like crazy for America. That’s okay. That is also not what Christian nationalism is. Christian nationalism is the extremist belief that the American nation is defined exclusively by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way. Now, for anyone thinking, well, that doesn’t sound so bad. Of course, everyone wants their team to win and hold power. That’s just humanity. Go Jesus. It is not friend. So, what are Christians saying about this? I was reading an op ed by Paul D. Miller in Christianity today, and he said.
Paul D. Miller 05:59
It is a serious problem. Christian nationalism is an ideology held overwhelmingly by white Americans, and it thus tends to exacerbate racial and ethnic cleavages. When nationalists go about constructing their nation, empowering the state through quote, morals legislation, they have to define who is and who is not part of the nation. But there are always dissidents and minorities who do not or cannot conform to the nationalist preferred cultural template. In the absence of moral authority. Nationalists can only establish themselves by force. Scholars are almost unanimous that nationalist governments tend to become authoritarian and oppressive in practice.
V Spehar 06:41
What started as a fringe movement or a joke is now on your TVs radios, TikTok’s, popping up at dinner table conversation around the nation. And I know I was guilty of brushing off some of the rhetoric from family members to like keep the peace at Thanksgiving dinner. But those early warning signs symptoms are now a full on infection that we just can’t ignore. Or my uncle’s favorite. Let’s agree to disagree on, no, we can’t. This rhetoric has been escalating over the past couple of weeks. Senator Josh Hawley is laying out his plan for theocracy during every Fox Interview claiming non-believers will have no escape from conservative law once they take power. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a sitting Congresswoman who is running for reelection, has now openly called for Christian nationalism, and a series of YouTube videos and tweets published on July 27th. Doug Mastriano, a Christian nationalist and candidate for governor in Pennsylvania is supported by and thanks God for his financier Andrew Torva, who, speaking on behalf of conservative Republican said, quote, We don’t want people who are atheists, we don’t want people who are Jewish. We don’t want people who are, you know, non-believers, agnostic, whatever. This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country. He also added Ben Shapiro is not welcomed in the movement unless he repents and accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, Ben Shapiro, the golden boy of the far right, not welcome in the Christian nationalist movement openly. Guys, Christian nationalism is not a joke. It’s not a diss. It is an on the record political party with a real agenda. There are at least 20 sitting members of Congress who subscribe to it, and it is gaining traction in the state gubernatorial races. Again, from Christianity Today, journalist Paul D. Miller.
Paul D. Miller 08:37
Christian nationalism takes the name of Christ for a worldly political agenda, proclaiming that its program is the political program for every true believer. It is calling evil, good and good, evil. It is taking the name of Christ as a fig leaf to cover its political program, treating the message of Jesus as a tool of political propaganda, and the church as the Handmaiden and cheerleader of the state.
V Spehar 09:04
What did he say about a fig leaf covering a what? So, guys, of course, this isn’t all Christians, clearly, so many Christians are politically engaged and have done some incredible work. Think about the militant nuns who are some of the most visible symbols of political activism internationally. The green patriarch, all holiness Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople in New Rome, who leads over 300 million Orthodox Christians and ending crimes against the environment. The Vatican is a solar powered city for Christ’s sake literally. And the Mormons are advocating for being anxiously engaged in battling hunger, disease, racism and environmental abuses. Also, friends, Christian nationalists are going to deflect every single time you call them Nazis, and they’re going to say, we’re not national socialists. That was the party of the Nazis. And this is America, not Germany, guys, they got an answer for everything. Okay, this is a very sophisticated attack headed by some real slick talkers. So how do you know if you or someone you love is accidentally falling into this crowd? Ninemarks.org, a group that provides support to build in their words, healthy churches issued these five questions every Christian should ask themselves before they go and do an activism. How do I know if my political advocacy is unwise and even ungodly? Here’s the five warning signs from nine marks. One, I spend more time signing petitions that I do praying. Two, I only criticize one side of the political spectrum. Three, people have the impression that belonging to my church means aligning with a certain political party. Four, I am more passionate about politics than I am about my local church and their mission. And finally, I am putting my hope for society and political elections or leaders, or platforms, rather than the gospel of Christ. That’s what they say. Those are the warning signs if it’s helpful to you, I hope you take it with you. And if not, may peace be with all of you. Speaking of evangelists, have you ever met someone who plays pickleball? Yes, that would paddle with like a wiffle ball and a tennis net game kind of looks like you’re standing on a ping pong table when you’re playing game. It is on the rise and people especially our grandmas cannot stop talking about it. The New York Times declared the sport ready for primetime and PR bemoaned the mere 10,000 places to play across the country. Town and Country called it the preferred sport of the 1%. And the New Yorker asked can pickleball save America? Yes, it turns out yes. So I was curious. How did this game even get started? The history is going to amaze you. The game was invented in 1965 by a Republican congressman and former Lieutenant Governor of the State of Washington, Joel Prichard though his biggest claim to fame is that he was a board member for The Washington citizens for abortion Reform Committee. There he introduced a bill allowing abortions in the first four months of pregnancy. It was approved and went to the voters and became law in November of 1970. Making Washington State the first state in which abortion was legalized by popular votes. I kinda love this guy pickleball and women’s rights, this is a guy we need. There are now three official pickleball leagues, two competing international leagues, and it’s on track to be one of the hottest new sports to follow with merch millions of dollars in investment capital, and a chaotic fandom to boot. You can find a place to play at the official pickleball.com or use the geo locator feature on the smartphone app called Places To Play. And no they don’t sponsor us. I just want you to get outside and look at a tree or something. OPA, OPA’s what they say when you get a point.
V Spehar 13:11
We are running out of time again. So here are your Quick Hits for the week. A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia to Australia found themselves paying a hefty price for a McDonald’s breakfast, he was fined almost $2,000 for not reporting the sandwiches he had stowed in his luggage. Monkey pox has now been reported in every single state except Vermont, Montana and Wyoming with over 5000 cases reported. So if you’ve been ignoring it to this point, please go back and listen to our monkeypox special episode now you’ll it’ll give you everything you need to know. And lastly, kids are stealing Kia vehicles with a trick learned in a now viral YouTube video that taught them how to hack the ignition using a phone charger. Okay. I had a great conversation with Jason Kander. He is a former US Army intelligence officer who returned home from service and became a rising star for the Democrats. But as his political career was skyrocketing, he was dealing with something incredibly dark on the inside. Stick around for our conversation.
V Spehar 14:16
Welcome back friends. I am proud to say that I have a surprisingly big mill talk following. They reach out to me about all kinds of stuff but I get a lot of DMS from active military and veterans who are struggling with PTSD. My guest today Jason Kander can relate. Jason was an intelligence officer with the Army National Guard earning the rank of captain he volunteered for a mission in Afghanistan where he worked in the field for four months. After his tour. He returned home to Kansas City and decided to run for office. He quickly made a name for himself and became a rising democratic star. He got elected to the state legislature. He then became the first millennial ever elected to statewide office as Missouri Secretary of State. In 2016, Jason ran for US Senate where he lost to the Republican incumbent Roy Blunt, but considering he did pretty well, he did come very close. And party leaders took note Obama even gave him high praise. So naturally, Jason set his eyes on the presidency. But all of this time he was dealing with untreated undiagnosed PTSD. In his new memoir, invisible storm, he talks about suffering from night terrors and the constant feeling of being in danger. He knew something was wrong. So instead of running for president, he lowered his sights and ran for mayor of Kansas City instead. But his mental health continued to suffer. He even struggled with suicidal ideation. Eventually, he ended his candidacy, and stepped out of the public eye to seek help. Now he’s sharing his story and helping others get better, too, which is great. And we need that. Jason, thank you so much for being here today.
Jason Kander 14:30
I appreciate you having me.
V Spehar 14:53
We are gonna get into your political and military history. And of course, talk about your new book, invisible storm. But first, I am dying to ask you this question. Because earlier today on the pod, we were talking about a new Florida law that allows veterans to become school teachers without a college degree, having been in the military, how confident are you in that kind of a policy?
Jason Kander 16:34
I think that this is enormously disrespectful to both veterans and teachers. I guess if I were to say anything positive about it, it’s that it’s nice that somebody in in the long like, running train of really ridiculous, cliche driven tropes that people in politics do with regard to veterans, I appreciate that we’re at least getting a little bit of distance away from all veterans are meant to be law enforcement officers and security guards. And like, that’s all we can do. I appreciate that somebody seems to think that there’s also something else we can do. But being in the military is a profession. And it is a profession for which you get training, and you become very good at many, many things. But here’s an interesting thing. One of the things you can learn how to do in the military is be a teacher, there’s like a whole school for it, which would lead me to believe that it makes some sense to teach people how to be teachers before they become teachers.
V Spehar 17:35
Okay, now that we got the talk of Florida School teachers out of the way, let’s talk about your new book. It’s called Invisible storm, a soldier’s memoir of politics and PTSD. One thing I think is so interesting about your story is so often we hear about folks who are experiencing suicidal ideation when they are at their rock bottom, right? They were maybe in a situation where they didn’t feel like waiting for tomorrow was going to be worth it. And they were just going to check out right now. But you are at the top of your game. And this is something that is not talked about that those type of feelings can come to you when you’re experiencing great success, because the pressure of that success. You know, what are you gonna do turn to someone and say, I feel bad, and they’re gonna turn to you and say, Obama just called you the future of the Democratic Party. That’s really a lot of weight to carry. Can you talk a little about what you felt like then?
Jason Kander 18:23
Yeah, you know, I guess to me, like, that’s what I kept thinking, like, I didn’t like myself, because I thought like, how ungrateful I must be right, that I’m still having these problems. I’m still feeling this way. You know, it didn’t start out as depression. But the thing about PTSD is that, I mean, it’s exhausting to feel like you’re in danger all the time. And I went, like 10 years without a good night’s sleep. And after a while, you get depressed. And then here I am. I’m feeling depressed. I’m, you know, not that fun to have around at home from my wife and my son. And yeah, like, I’m like, Who the hell am I to not be feeling great. Like my career was going awesome. I was 37 years old and a pretty credible candidate for president United States. Like I was like, what a jerk I am to still be feeling bad. But what I had to learn in therapy was that you can hit rock bottom, while you’re on a professional mountaintop, and that’s what happened with me. And really what I was doing was, I was chasing redemption through my work like my, my self-esteem, as in my opinion of myself as a human was cratering. But my self-confidence never flagged. In fact, it just got greater and greater like, it’s hard to explain, but I simultaneously felt like I was an irredeemable piece of shit as a human. And I was 100% convinced that I was the most talented politician in the United States. And so what I started doing was I was using that second thing that self-confidence I was trying to use it to convince the other part of me that I was redeemable so I was chased Seeing these endorphin highs and these accomplishments to try and fill the enormous hole inside me created by, you know, the way I felt about myself. And it was not successful. And ultimately I had to accept that and go deal with it.
V Spehar 20:13
You said, as a US Army intelligence officer, you didn’t even feel like you had earned PTSD.
Jason Kander 20:20
Yeah, you know, I think this is something that part of the reason I wrote the book is, I feel like a lot of people can relate to this, you don’t have to have had a combat deployment, to be somebody who has undergone something that you feel is unworthy of whatever problems it has left you with. So for me, when I went to Afghanistan, my idea of a combat was, was, you know, Black Hawk Down. I mean, it was Band of Brothers, it was, you know, if there were not bullets whizzing by your head, and you weren’t smoking bad guys, like, that’s not combat. That’s how I felt about it. And then I went overseas, and my job is as an intelligence officer. And you know, that’s not what every intelligence officer does. But it’s what I did in my deployment is to go out, and to gain information about people who were trying to infiltrate the government with, you know, espionage and narco trafficking and corruption. And people who basically were double dealing were working with the Taliban working with us. Well, in order to get that information, I had to go out and meet with pretty unsavory characters whose allegiances I couldn’t know. And I was just being a translator a lot of the time, and there was really nobody to back us up. And so you’re really vulnerable when you do that. Now, I did that for four months, which was another thing, because I only had a four month tour, I told myself, well, there’s no way that qualifies as being traumatic. In my mind, it didn’t count as combat. And so I spent 10 years telling myself that, who am I to say that all this stuff going on to me as PTSD, when I have friends who were shot, you know, that kind of thing. And so it wasn’t until I went to the VA and a clinical social worker explained it back to me and said, Look, you were in the most dangerous place in the planet, you were vulnerable for hours at a time, you were practically by yourself. Nobody knew where you were. So nobody was coming to back you up if things went bad, and you’re meeting with people who might want to kill you. She was like, you’re a combat veteran. And that’s traumatic. And when she said it back to me that way, it sounded different than the way I described it to myself, which was I was just an asshole who went to meetings.
V Spehar 22:15
Yeah, I mean, no, you sat there and had to make a decision that people don’t typically make at work, which is, am I going to take a life right now, and to save my own, or for whatever reason, and that has to weigh on you. Sometimes we ascribe so much weight to the things that we do, having been shot, or having faced exactly the thing we were afraid of when we went into it. But all of those little things that build up on our mind of the things we almost did or that we had to decide on, those are a lot harder to get over. And you talk about that in the book a little bit.
Jason Kander 22:48
Yeah. And I want it to be a book for people who have suffered trauma of any kind, or people who know someone who has or people who just want to have a greater understanding of that experience. Or the experience of someone who you know, is a loved one of the of somebody like that, because, you know, one of the big things I learned is that ranking my trauma against other people’s trauma didn’t actually diminish my trauma. All it did is delay my ability to heal. And that’s why like, you don’t have to have gone to combat to undergo training, it could be a car accident or a divorce. It doesn’t matter, like comparing them is a waste of time.
V Spehar 23:25
You’ve said PTSD treatment isn’t about getting cured. Can you talk a little bit about what therapy means to you?
Jason Kander 23:32
Yeah, sure. So the reason I say that is because PTSD is based on memories. And since you’re not erasing the memories, you’re not curing the PTSD. However, PTSD is like any other injury. And therapy is like any other kind of treatment for an injury. So you go in, you deal with the underlying trauma. Just as you know, many years ago, I had a bad knee injury, and I got surgery and then went through physical therapy. And now like, I’m still pretty athletic, I play sports and stuff like that, even though I have this knee, but I ice the knee. And you know, sometimes if I’m going to do like something, I’ll take Advil beforehand, and, you know, I have certain stretches like I know what to do to manage the knee so that it doesn’t limit me. Well, therapy did the same thing for me and the stuff that I continue to do just the same thing for me with PTSD. So when I started therapy, I think I had a rather naive set of preconceived notions about therapy, I viewed it as something that was probably very passive, like almost like, like going back and getting an IV like it was like I was just going to talk and that but it’s much more like physical therapy or even like grad school and that you’re very active and you there’s a lot to do so. Like I had weekly appointments and the appointments were hard work, because of the things I had to talk about of the different areas to explore that my therapist would take me to, but what was just as hard of work was the homework which was I had things I was supposed to do every single day in between therapy appointments that were not pleasant for me, but they were are really important. And they really helped me get what my great uncle referred to and giving me advice when I started therapy, which was a master’s degree in myself. And that really is what therapy is, to me. It’s like going to grad school to get a master’s degree in yourself.
V Spehar 25:13
So, another thing I want to talk to you about is masculinity and how it’s evolved for men. The idea of performing manliness is not just about being like super strong and quiet and sucking it up and never talking about your feelings. It is so much more than that. Now. Can you talk a little bit about how masculinity plays a role in therapy?
Jason Kander 25:33
Yeah. For me, I think of it more as like how I view selfishness like, because as a man, I felt like being unselfish, meant constantly giving of myself to the point where I had nothing left to give, like, the only time I felt really good, and like I like a good man was, you know, prior to getting treatment was when I felt totally hollowed out when like, my back hurt, and I was exhausted. And I was like, okay, I’ve given everything now I feel worthy. And the thing was, is like, I thought that was unselfish. But actually, it left nothing for my family, it left nothing for the people I care about. And so it turns out that actually, the unselfish thing to do is to pay attention to what’s going on with me, and to actually, you know, take care of things that are that are upsetting me, and deal with them, so that I can be there for the people I care about. And I can actually be present in the world. And so learning self-compassion is a really important part to me, of being fully being a man like, which is to say, being there for my family being for their for the people I love.
V Spehar 26:39
Right. Because you need that space to reflect and be present in your body and not just be playing the character of yourself, but rather, you know, experiencing the full breadth of human emotion, which is terrible and scary and oftentimes extremely overwhelming. So it’s so important that we find those partners that help us stay still and hold our hand through these things. And I understand the veterans community project was one of those partners that helped you through the process by making sure that you got the services that you needed. Now you’re serving as the organization’s president. Can you talk a little bit about what that group means to you?
Jason Kander 27:11
Yeah, I appreciate you asking about it. So veterans community project is an organization that focuses on two things, fighting the suicide epidemic by offering outreach centers, walk in clinics, to veterans to provide any service that veterans need. And then second, operating campuses, villages, wraparound case management services combined with tiny houses. So like we create these villages, and homeless veterans move into them. And then we’re able to deal with a holistic approach for them. And we have an 85% success rate of getting them back into society housed and fully contributing members of the community. Which is like an Off The Charts success rate. And so when I first went to the VA, the enrollment process was going to take a few months, and I was just about to announce, I’m going to the VA, so I and I knew I needed to go. And so I turned to veterans community project. And they were like, well just come down to the outreach center. So I didn’t get special treatment or anything. I just walked through like any other Kansas City vet, and they handled my paperwork just like they would for anybody. And I had my first therapy appointment about a week later. And so that was enormously helpful to me. And then I just started hanging around because it was really inspiring. And they had been so successful in Kansas City that all these other communities were like, hey, can you bring it here? I had created a national organization before. So I was given some advice. And finally, you know, I was doing pretty well on therapy and had been a few months and my buddy, who’s the CEO, Brian Meyer, he was like, Hey, man, you’re not working your hair a lot. You’ve given us this advice. He’s like, how about you just come on full time. So I became president national expansion three years ago. And now, in that time, we have expanded to the Denver area, the St. Louis area, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we just bought property in Oklahoma City, we’re gonna build there. And then we have a couple other cities coming after that. So it’s the best civilian job I’ve ever had.
V Spehar 28:56
Given that you’ve been so up close with helping give people purpose and bringing them back from the brink of those really final thoughts that sometimes come for folks? What advice do you have for let’s say, military families who are watching their veteran struggle and want to get them help that they need, but maybe aren’t able to come to one of your clinics?
Jason Kander 29:17
Yeah, I’d say two things, one, to anybody who, whether military family or not, who is close to someone who’s clearly struggling. And because I get this, often I get the question of like, how do I get them to get help?
V Spehar 29:30
How do I stop it? How do I keep them alive?
Jason Kander 29:33
Yeah, right. How do I convince them? How do I and the first thing I tell people is you need to start by recognizing that they’re ultimately that it’s going to be them who saves themselves that that you can’t actually do it for them. And that’s not to say you that there’s not things you should do. It’s important to make sure that you are asking genuinely earnest questions because you’re demonstrating that you care but what you’re not doing is trying to convince them of anything, because I can just from my own experience, when someone is trying to show you that you need help. You can feel kind of attacked by that and you can entrench yourself in your in your defensiveness. But when someone is genuinely wanting to know what you’re going through and genuinely asking, because they just clearly yearned to understand you better, and they care about you, that’s very helpful. But you can’t take them all away, like they’re going to, I had to decide for myself to get help. That’s the first thing I just say that because it’s really emotionally taxing on people, if they put it all on themselves, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, but you should know the limits to it. And then the second thing is the best thing that I think can happen society wide for people to be more likely to seek help. You know, I think we’ve done a good job of getting across the message of it’s an act of strength, not an act of weakness to get help. I think most people go for that at this point. We’ve got to get to the next level, which is making sure that people understand that getting help, actually is really likely to work. And that it can be effective. Because if you think about the way the American myth, the American story defines trauma. It is overwhelmingly the Top Gun version, which I like Top Gun, great couple of movies, but that type conversion is a redemption story. It is goose dies, and you don’t go to therapy, you go kill some bad guys, and then you’re good to go. And most stories in America about trauma are that way. But the other problem with the American story is that the way we depict post-traumatic stress, it’s PTSD porn, it’s voyeurism, right? It is untreated, undiagnosed PTSD. In the worst throes of it, it’s usually a combat veteran, and they are robbing a liquor store after drinking too much and beating their spouse. And what’s actually happening out there is that that’s really rare. But what’s really common is that people have gotten treatment for trauma, and now are going about their lives and really flourishing. But we don’t hear about that. And we don’t ever see that depicted. So like even me, I was a few months into trauma therapy and really starting to respond to it. And I started to feel really guilty, because I said to my therapist, like, did I even have PTSD? I’m feeling so much better after only a few months. But most people don’t get better at all. And he’s like, what are you talking about? And he got out all these studies, and he showed, like, the vast majority of people who commit to this program get better. I didn’t know that, and most people don’t. And if more people knew that, I think more people would go get help.
V Spehar 32:24
Yeah, and, you know, I get a lot of DMS from folks who are enlisted or vets in particular, when political things happen, because they may have gone through some level of healing. They’re showing up in the civilian world, they’re married, they got kids, they got families, friends, whatever is going on, and then something happens. And it can trigger that PTSD again, and the example I’ll give for this is when Roe vs. Wade was overturned, I got a ton of this isn’t what we fought for. I didn’t go over to Afghanistan to fight discrimination and violence against women to try and democratize this nation for far right legislators and judges to push extremely restricted bodily autonomy laws, how do I fight it now? I feel like I’m like back wondering why I did this, why I signed up. How did you feel when that was going on? Were you getting messages from folks?
Jason Kander 33:15
I get some messages from folks like that. But I mean, I also feel that way. You know, it’s not infrequent. That I feel that way. Because for me, it’s not only did I serve my country, and was like, willing to give my life for my country. But on top of that, I came home and I kept serving my country. And even more than that, like, I involve myself in the system, I became an elected official, and I tried to be a part of making change from within. And so when you combine those two things, yeah, there’s a part of me that when things don’t go the way I want them to go in the country that feels like was that all in vain? Like, what was the point of that, and what I try to remember is that, you know, progress is not a race to the finish line. It’s a relay race that never ends. And so I tried to think of it that way, while at the same time understanding that that doesn’t require me to be an activist every hour of every day, that it is that I have, and a lot of other people have. I didn’t believe this for a long time. But I’ve actually done enough for my country. I was convinced for many, many years that I hadn’t done anywhere near enough. But one of the conclusions I’ve reached is that America and I are square. However, yeah, there’s still things I do for my country. It’s just that I never do them because I feel I have to or because I think I should, I do them because I care about stuff. And I want to, but I don’t do anything so that I can do other things. I do stuff because I’m like, this matters to me right now. And sometimes I’m like, this matters to me, but so does coaching this little league game. And so I’m gonna do that. And then I’ll work on this tomorrow, I’m gonna make it and that’s okay. because I believe I’ve earned the right to do that.
V Spehar 34:46
Jason, thank you so much for taking the time with me today. I greatly appreciate it. Can you tell folks where they can find you where they can find your podcast your book? Are you going on speaking tour? Where can we find you?
Jason Kander 34:56
So you can find me on social media. I’m on Twitter and Instagram. It’s just @JasonKander, and then JasonKander.com is my website, you know, I do some speaking. So, if people are interested then go there to contact me. And then the book is invisible storm, a soldier’s memoir of politics and PTSD. And it is available wherever you buy books, all of my royalties go to veterans community project from the book. And it’s done well, it’s a New York Times bestseller. And I would like to add that we’ve talked about very heavy stuff. The book also has jokes. So which is I think, important to tell people. And so yeah, then get the book and also, podcast Majority54 wherever they get this podcast and get that podcast and I live in Kansas City. So I’ll see you around town if you live there.
V Spehar 35:40
Thank you so much, Jason.
Jason Kander 35:42
V Spehar 35:43
That’s Jason Kander. I’m so glad we got the chance to hear some of his story and hopefully you heard something that helps you. Friends, there is good news in this world. And it’s good news from you. So we’re gonna have that up next, my favorite part of the show.
V Spehar 36:12
Welcome back friends, it is now time for some good news. Starting with the World Health Organization recently celebrated Botswana for their groundbreaking achievement in stopping the transmission of HIV between moms and their newborns. The National Program has reduced to such occurrences from 40% to below 1%. Since it launched 23 years ago. Botswana still struggles with high HIV infection rates. But in the country’s central Health District, just four babies have been born with HIV all year. And in seven other health districts. There have been no such transmissions, incredible. The regional director of the World Health Organization for Africa said this is a huge accomplishment for a country that has had one of the most severe HIV epidemics in the world. Botswana demonstrates that an AIDS free generation is possible. Also doing great things. A Texas teen who was body shamed by Congressman Matt Gates has now raised over $2 million for abortion care through the Gen Z for change safer initiative. Gates insulted Olivia Giuliana in a tweet, she responded with a cheeky thank you note and that started the fundraising ball rolling. By the way. A couple of weeks ago, we had Olivia on the show along with two other folks from Gen Z for change. If you missed it, now is a great time to go back and listen to that conversation, Gen Z for change doing some incredible work. And the good news doesn’t have to just happen out in the rest of the world. It happens to you and for us to hear about here is your good news from this week.
Speaker 3 37:58
Hey V, I’ve got two things. First off, my name is Matthew Kohler. And I am a producer and stage manager in a theater here in Kansas City. I opened up my company about three weeks ago. And we’re doing our first show called Circle Mirror Transformation by Andy Baker. So I’m super excited about. And the second thing is I wanted to thank you, for at the end of the queer episode that you did, you had given a special shout out to bisexual men, and said that like you are valid, and we see you and you’re welcome. And you’re here. And I just I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated that as a bisexual man.
Speaker 4 38:33
Hey, V, my name is […]. I am a nursing student who is finally getting to my very last semester of nursing school. I can’t wait to be done. I can’t wait to become a labor and delivery nurse. And most of all, I cannot wait to finally be free to spend some more time with my girls. It’s been so long and such a long, hard road for them and me and I know that they’re going to be so excited that mommy is finally a nurse and mommy can finally spend the time with them that they deserve.
Speaker 5 39:07
Hi, my name is Lauren. And I was just calling to do good news Friday. And I also wanted to thank V personally because I just got into the merit America data analytics program. And I wouldn’t have heard about that if it wasn’t for V. And I just want to say thank you and I’m really excited. And yeah, thank you for doing what you do. I hope you have a great day. Bye.
V Spehar 39:31
Thank you so much for sharing your good news. If you want to tell me something amazing that happened to you. Please, please leave me a voicemail at 612-293-8550 Yes, we listen to all of them and I look forward to it all week. Be sure to listen to this Friday’s episode when it is my actual birthday and yes, it is a milestone birthday. I’ll be 40 years old. So we got a big old milestone kind of guest will be chatting with Adam Conover about his new show the G Word, and I promise even though Adam Ruins Everything he does not ruin my birthday, it was very kind of them. Don’t forget to subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts, follow me on Insta and tick tock at under the desk news. And as always, thank you so much for tuning in.
V Spehar 40:17
V INTERESTING is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Rachel Neel, Xorje Olivares, Martín Macías, Jr. And Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mixing and Scoring is by Brian Castillo, Johnny Evans and Ivan Kuraev. music is by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar and @UnderTheDeskNews, also, @LemonadaMedia. If you want more be interesting, subscribe to Lemonada premium only on Apple podcasts.