FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Grieving Explained

Many of my correspondents are slipping into a state of morbid shock due to the recent unpleasantness at the polling places. Bad enough that the race should be between a plate of waffles and an empty jackboot: on top of that, Kerry lost. He should have had a 75 point margin, stolen votes or no stolen votes. Meanwhile, Democrats in Washington are now discussing whether to move farther to the right than Bush, or whether to just go hide behind the potted palmetto in the lobby of the Hotel Monaco in DC. It is understandable why people who care about politics, or about the future of the human race, are upset. But the people I’m talking to aren’t just upset. They’re despondent, broken, suicidal, and down in the mouth. It’s called grieving.

John Kerry walks into a bar with a horse. Bartender looks up and says, “Why the long faces?” All those Kerry jokes, lost forever in the musty attic of outdated topical humor. And well they might be: Kerry went from ‘Anybody But Bush’ who would win the election despite himself, to yet another hapless, punch-drunk optimist gutted by a bitter and implacable enemy. Grief is an appropriate response to the situation, especially if one believes, as so many progressives do, that the corpse now laid out on the slab before us is Columbia herself. Here’s what you should know: grieving takes a fairly predictable course. In order to facilitate writing self-help books, psychologists have broken the grieving process into five stages.

The first stage is denial, shock, and isolation. Can I get a show of hands, people? I would add packing a trunk and moving to Canada as part of the first phase, but it’s not mentioned in the books. A symptom of denial is thinking we can somehow reverse the results of the election if we can prove massive voter fraud occurred. Bad news, gang: too late. Shock and isolation, need I say more? Blue voters in red states are experiencing a species of shock and isolation normally associated with being made into bratwurst and then launched into orbit around the planet Neptune.

The second stage of grief is anger. This is the part where we find somebody to blame (usually the deceased, or the guy who ran the deceased over with a school bus) and go storming around demanding justice be done. We are not only angry, we’re helpless, which makes us more angry, and then we feel guilty because we’re making a spectacle of ourselves, so we get even angrier because we feel guilty for being angry, and so on. The flip side of all this anger is fear. Mad, scared, mad, scared. Are we having fun yet?

After the denial and the anger comes bargaining. We find ourselves trying to negotiate a somewhat less lethal outcome to the situation. The words ‘if only’ figure heavily at this stage: if only we insisted on a paper trail, if only the entire Democratic National Committee was run over by a school bus, if only Howard Dean hadn’t made that strange noise. People find themselves making deals with their imaginary Dad in the sky: “if you’ll just reverse the outcome of this election, I’ll devote my life to animal welfare projects in Ghana”.

This is of course futile, and the next stage is depression. It is crushing to realize that things are just going to have to suck after all. Worries about the future and regrets about the past overwhelm us. Hope drains away. Eternity lies before us like a vast, pestilence-rotted fen, the horizon black with winter clouds, the mire sucking at our shoes. If we even have shoes. Or feet, for that matter. Why do we keep on breathing? Many of my readers have reached this stage with flying colors, but aren’t sure what to do next.

The last stage of grief is acceptance. Experts (on the subject of grieving, not 18th Century linsey-woolsey undergarments) say that acceptance comes with understanding that tragic loss is a part of ‘what is’, and it is only when we allow for the fact of the inevitable that we are able to become whole again and move forward. So what we have to do is square up our pants, hitch our shoulders, and do just what John Kerry hoped we would in his concession speech: “begin the healing.”

If I were working for the New York Times or Newsweek, I’d end the piece right there, because it’s such a lovely pink ribbon that ties the subject up. Next week, I could discuss the Democrat’s new direction in times of change. Unfortunately I seem to be stuck at the anger phase. I’ll leave the bargaining, depression, and acceptance to the Democrats: it’s all they ever do anyway.

BEN TRIPP can be reached at credel@earthlink.net.

His book, ‘Square In The Nuts’, has been held up at the printers by thugs but will be released as soon as hostage negotiations conclude.

See also www.cafeshops.com/tarantulabros.

 

More articles by:
August 16, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
W. T. Whitney
New Facebook Alliance Endangers Access to News about Latin America
Sam Husseini
The Trump-Media Logrolling
Ramzy Baroud
Mission Accomplished: Why Solidarity Boats to Gaza Succeed Despite Failing to Break the Siege
Larry Atkins
Why Parkland Students, Not Trump, Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
William Hartung
Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Morality Tales in US Public Life?
Yves Engler
Will Trudeau Stand Up to Mohammad bin Salman?
Vijay Prashad
Samir Amin: Death of a Marxist
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail