Slogging Through the Political Muck of Grief

 

After reading Claire Berlinski’s long-awaited post, I resonated with much of what she said. From a time perspective, however, I’m probably farther ahead in my grieving process. I’m not going to describe a traditional “grief” model in this OP; those models are always tidy and reasonable, reassuring us that there is an end to our anger, perplexity and sadness. My issue with grief, though, is that it is ugly and inconsistent; it is unique for each person in its duration, in its depth, and in its stages. For those of you who are looking for a linear approach to grief regarding the political process, hoping there is a beginning and an end, I can’t help you. I can only illustrate that it is messy, unpredictable, and most importantly normal.

I’ve avoided talking about the elections and Trump directly, for the most part. I didn’t want to inflame the passions, create enemies or discount the feelings of others. I will finally confess that I didn’t want Trump for President, so much so that I didn’t vote in this last election. There. I said it. For those of you who say it was a vote for Hillary, so be it. For me it was a protest, a rebellion that was emotional, resolute, yet principled (from my perspective). As unrealistic as it might have seemed to many of you, I mourned the loss of elevating and expecting the values of truth, honor, and dignity from our government and its representatives.

Is my grief about Trump? To some degree. Although many people minimize his buffoonery and immaturity, those attributes are consequential for me. That said, I can also hold the premise that he is the President, that he is initiating some productive ideas, is dedicated to meeting his campaign promises, and to helping this country. The problem for many people is that they can’t live with this paradox: repulsion and support. Part of my grieving process is to learn how to accept all of it, just as it is, because I cannot change it. And one thing I know for certain is that whatever is going on, it will change.

My grief is also about this country. We talk about the ugliness on college campuses, the despicable behavior of the media and the pathetic behavior of the left. It’s hard not to get stuck in hopelessness. Except that paradoxically, we can all be certain that this will, again, all change. It could get worse, but it could also get better; I’m sure many of us look for signs that it is getting better, or even that it will get better.

The key to traversing the muck of grief, for me, is to recognize precisely where I am, at any given moment. I know that I am journeying through ugliness and that we are a country that has been through terrible times — wars, assassinations, and economic disasters. And we have survived, even thrived through the worst of it. As I slog through moments of anger, sadness, denial, resignation and anger again, I keep remembering that in spite of everything, we as a country and as a people have emerged stronger and more resolute. We can strive for the positive and let go of the past, appreciating that we live in the greatest country in the world.

We are still that shining city on the hill.

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  1. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Susan, I’m sad that you joined those who aided HRC, but it is most emphatically your decision, and it that’s what you had to do, so be it.

    The unfortunate consequence may be that you sense being on the sidelines as our country flourishes under Trump’s ministrations, helped by our revived electorate.  I’m an optimist and it’s my sincere hope that’s the outcome of his presidency.  Remember, Reagan was virulently hated by the left and not supported by many on the right, but now he approaches sainthood, with a major airport and many other landmarks named after him.

    • #1
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Trump might be OK but assuredly he doesn’t represent the better Angels of America’s nature.

    I think that’s what rubs so many people the wrong way with him. A President is a symbol of America in a big way and Trump doesn’t represent what many conservatives think of as America’s decency.

    To focus on the positive, maybe it will mean the American populace will think less of government and politicians.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):
    Susan, I’m sad that you joined those who aided HRC, but it is most emphatically your decision, and it that’s what you had to do, so be it.

    The unfortunate consequence may be that you sense being on the sidelines as our country flourishes under Trump’s ministrations, helped by our revived electorate. I’m an optimist and it’s my sincere hope that’s the outcome of his presidency. Remember, Reagan was virulently hated by the left and not supported by many on the right, but now he approaches sainthood, with a major airport and many other landmarks named after him.

    I don’t see myself on the sidelines at all. I cheer every accomplishment that Trump makes and I will criticize when he uses poor judgment. I think many people find it difficult to understand the paradox in being disappointed in this country and in Trump’s character, and rooting for his success. It is possible to do that. Let’s also remember that Hillary lost.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    To focus on the positive, maybe it will mean the American populace will think less of government and politicians.

    Now there’s a thought! They’ve already damaged their credibility anyway. Henry, I think a lot of people are “in our court”; just as many people probably don’t understand the paradox I mentioned: we can cheer for his success and grieve all the losses that this country is experiencing. At least I can.

    • #4
  5. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Yes, bad times but not nearly as bad as most have faced. Except for the Civil War our country has never really faced the devastation of war that every other country on Earth has gone through. Most of them often throughout history. Things are not good; too  much division, too much lying, too much mistrust on all sides. Could be worse. Might be worse sooner or later. Or we could begin to wake up to just how fortunate we really are. We still have more freedom than most of humanity has ever known, what will we do with it? We still have more prosperity than most of humanity has ever known, what will we do with it?

    I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either main candidate so I voted third-party knowing that Mr. Trump would win in Kentucky regardless of what I did. I voted as I did because I wanted to be able to live with that vote down the road. And now I want to do my little part in whatever way that seems to give me the best chance of being able to look in a mirror next year, next decade. Come whatever may. I hope and pray things will improve, they may, they just may. Whether they do so or not I have no intention of despairing, we have too much work to do for that.

    • #5
  6. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Skipping the election is an understandable act Susan and many others did what you did, and no I don’t think that you not voting equates to a vote for the other side, although it also doesn’t help “our” side much either.  To many of us Trump voters (whether gleeful or hesitant in our votes) an unforgivable act was taking the step of actually voting for Hillary, such was their revulsion at Trump.  This was simply insane, and then to cloak it in a way as to make themselves heroic, to suggest that the best way to save conservatism was to put Hillary in the White House, such was their revulsion at Trump.

    We don’t understand that revulsion, unless it’s personal (words he’s used on a hot mic or his admittedly not-quite-right hair).  His campaign was one of promising conservative policies, and he’s following through on that.  Don’t get me started on infrastructure spending, that I can’t defend.

    Your posts and comments are always thoughtful and appreciated.  If I came off uncaring on Clair’s post, well frankly her post came off as melodramatic and self-serving.  Which brings up the question of why Claire isn’t updating us on the intense scene that is European politics these days, she’s right there, fill us in.  Instead we get yet another piece bashing Trump?  We have Mona filling that role nicely on these pages, we don’t need more of it.

    • #6
  7. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Susan Quinn:”   . . we live in the greatest country in the world.”

    It bears repeating.   I just wish the left agreed with us.  That’s given me some serious grief.  The source of which will not abate soon – if ever.

     

     

     

    • #7
  8. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I am tired of the refrain that Trump represents a “meaner” America, presumably because of a lack of rhetorical compassion for illegals. The modern Democratic Party and the privileged twits who own it have open contempt for people who go to church, salute the American flag, don’t make six figures, live off-campus in flyover country and/or have 2 or more babies.  There is more class. race and sexually-defined hate in the average college lecture hall than in the entirely of the Trump campaign.

    The continuous open loathing that has been directed at the normals (like me) is far “meaner” that anything Trump has ever said (Note: what has been inferred/insinuated  by MSNBC, NYT, HuffPo et al. does not count as that which Trump has said).  Communities, income brackets and individuals that have suffered from the flood of illegals are largely ignored because (a) it is considered déclassé to notice and (b) it would disrupt basking in the glow of self-satisfying “compassion.”

    Frankly, people who speak of “meanness” by Trump and his supporters are advertising a form of narcissism unless and until they demonstrate otherwise.  It is a pose of moral stylistic superiority that I find offensive because I voted for the guy despite serious policy reservations and annoyance at his lack of verbal discipline.  I especially resent the implicit notion that I must be possessed of sensibilities inferior to those of more refined sorts because I do not “grieve” over this electoral result.

     

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    OkieSailor (View Comment):
    Things are not good; too much division, too much lying, too much mistrust on all sides. Could be worse. Might be worse sooner or later. Or we could begin to wake up to just how fortunate we really are. We still have more freedom than most of humanity has ever known, what will we do with it? We still have more prosperity than most of humanity has ever known, what will we do with it?

    Love all your points, Okie. Especially remembering how blessed we are. Thanks for speaking up.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Curt North (View Comment):
    His campaign was one of promising conservative policies, and he’s following through on that. Don’t get me started on infrastructure spending, that I can’t defend.

    Thanks for your kind remarks, Curt. Here is the perfect example of trying to be fair to Trump. He is doing some conservative things, and some things that may not bode well. Acknowledging both is not a betrayal but shows good judgement.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Trink (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:” . . we live in the greatest country in the world.”

    It bears repeating. I just wish the left agreed with us. That’s given me some serious grief. The source of which will not abate soon – if ever.

    Their hatefulness is almost unbearable, isn’t it? I avoid watching most of their protests because they are so grotesque, irrational and selfish. Thanks, Trink.

    • #11
  12. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    I especially resent the implicit notion that I must be possessed of sensibilities inferior to those of more refined sorts because I do not “grieve” over this electoral result.

    Well stated, I get this vibe constantly (though not in Susan’s post here).

    Although at times I worry that we come off as just angry or maybe argumentative, as Trump voters it seems we’re often told how we have to “understand” the deep thinking of the #Nevers, yet they seem to have judged us as knuckle-dragging simpletons and aren’t interested in moving past that judgement.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    I especially resent the implicit notion that I must be possessed of sensibilities inferior to those of more refined sorts because I do not “grieve” over this electoral result.

    I hope you don’t think I said this! The people voted and we have to support his being successful. Everything you say otherwise is right on target, said better than I did.

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Frankly, people who speak of “meanness” by Trump and his supporters are advertising a form of narcissism unless and until they demonstrate otherwise. It is a pose of moral stylistic superiority that I find offensive because I voted for the guy despite serious policy reservations and annoyance at his lack of verbal discipline.

    Meanness is not a word I would use either, but that is the narcissistic left. I think they show their ignorance in not even knowing anything about him, except the indoctrination of the media.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Curt North (View Comment):
    Although at times I worry that we come off as just angry or maybe argumentative, as Trump voters it seems we’re often told how we have to “understand” the deep thinking of the #Nevers, yet they seem to have judged us as knuckle-dragging simpletons and aren’t interested in moving past that judgement.

    No kidding, Curt! First, I hope everyone knows I was never a “Never.” (Did I say that?) And I’m not interested in understanding their decision. They lost. Let’s move on. I can guess about their, but I don’t spend much time thinking about it. Life has taught me to avoid “always” and “never”; when I forget that lesson, I often regret it.

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I also want to remind people that rather than grieving Trump’s presidency, I’m mostly grieving the overall state of our country that led us to choose him. I hope that came  through.

    • #15
  16. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Just a wonderful OP @susanquinn.  It sums up so many of our fears, concerns, and hopes with genuine pragmatism and realism.  Please don’t be bothered by the trolling comments (you’ll get some).  Your aversion to our new president is justified and your concerns grounded and valid.  But you seem to be tempering them with hope in the possibilities (or I am anyway) and the simple maturity to recognize that angst over things you can’t change anyway is just wasted suffering.  We will, indeed, very likely get through this presidency, maybe weaker but hopefully stronger, and we’ll get on to something else in time.  Just really wanted to say thank you for such a thoughtful piece.

    • #16
  17. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I also want to remind people that rather than grieving Trump’s presidency, I’m mostly grieving the overall state of our country that led us to choose him. I hope that came through.

    I understood that clearly.  These threads often side track quickly without the use of turn signals.  Hang on!

    • #17
  18. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Susan Quinn: As unrealistic as it might have seemed to many of you, I mourned the loss of elevating and expecting the values of truth, honor, and dignity from our government and its representatives.

    I am so sorry for your grief, 8 long years of grieving can wear one down, especially if you thought there was any values of truth, honor or dignity from the prior administration.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    Just a wonderful OP @susanquinn. It sums up so many of our fears, concerns, and hopes with genuine pragmatism and realism. Please don’t be bothered by the trolling comments (you’ll get some). Your aversion to our new president is justified and your concerns grounded and valid. But you seem to be tempering them with hope in the possibilities (or I am anyway) and the simple maturity to recognize that angst over things you can’t change anyway is just wasted suffering. We will, indeed, very likely get through this presidency, maybe weaker but hopefully stronger, and we’ll get on to something else in time. Just really wanted to say thank you for such a thoughtful piece.

    I read this one aloud to my husband, Cato. Thank you so much; you are very kind. I am an optimistic person and I can do nothing other than hope for the best. You reflect my thinking beautifully. And at some level I thought there must be other thoughtful people who feel these complexities of emotions, beliefs and values. I hoped to give voice to that. Thanks, again.

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kay of MT (View Comment):
    I am so sorry for your grief, 8 long years of grieving can wear one down, especially if you thought there was any values of truth, honor or dignity from the prior administration.

    Are you referring to Bush or Obama? I think there was a lot about Bush that was principled, and any of those positive attributes were sadly missing from Obama’s time. But that grief has been building for a long time, and I think it’s time to pull myself up and move forward.

    • #20
  21. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    “I mourned the loss of elevating and expecting the values of truth, honor, and dignity from our government and its representatives.”

    I think it is more than just Trump. For many of us—maybe most of us?—electing Obama felt like an affirmation that America was a good and civilized country. Whatever else he was, he wasn’t uncivilized or undignified—quite the contrary. His speech to the 2004 Democratic convention still echoed pleasantly in American ears, so he didn’t seem as if he’d be divisive.  Okay, some of you might have been more skeptical than I was, but did you expect him to be especially dishonest and dishonorable by the standards of your average politician, rather than merely too leftist for your tastes?

    It is still painful for me to recall Obama’s behavior vis-a-vis #BLM and Ferguson, and the pain is, in itself, a measure of what my expectations for him were, at least. But any of us could be forgiven for expecting him to be, well, a normal president.

    When, during the election, I brought up the multiple lies, calumnies and corruptions of Miz Hillary and all the stonewalling failed, the final redout for my progressive friends was always “well, politicians always lie…politicians are always corrupt and self-serving…”

    But I don’t think we believed that, back in ’07.  So it isn’t just that we’ve been through an election where we were presented with a choice between two self-serving liars, which is doleful enough. It’s also the IRS/Tea Party scandal-that-wasn’t, Fast and Furious, Benghazi… if it turns out that Obama really did illegally surveil Trump, that’ll be depressing too.

    The one good thing about Trump is that we won’t have to feel this feet-of-clay disappointment if and when he lets us down.

    • #21
  22. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    “Let’s also remember that Hillary lost.”

    That is the most important part of the last election, in my opinion. We’ll survive the occasional Trump bizarro-ness, but she could truly have been the final blow to this Grand Experiment, the Republic.

    I, too, resent being tagged as some sort of lesser creature because I don’t “grieve” over his election. I feel an exhalation instead from the vast majority of Americans who feel they’ve been released from the grip of the media, and the overwhelming attitude of political correctness that has been foisted upon us this last decade.

    • #22
  23. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):
    These threads often side track quickly without the use of turn signals. Hang on!

    Now THAT we can surely all agree on.

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    His speech to the 2004 Democratic convention still echoed pleasantly in American ears, so he didn’t seem as if he’d be divisive. Okay, some of you might have been more skeptical than I was, but did you expect him to be especially dishonest and dishonorable by the standards of your average politician, rather than merely too leftist for your tastes?

    I didn’t think he would be as awful as he turned out, Kate, but I didn’t vote for him because I didn’t trust him, his lack of credentials, his inexperience. I didn’t care if he was black or purple; I just wanted someone who was principled with some kind of track record. I wasn’t encouraged by his being a community organizer–red flag, there, too. But I do think it was not difficult to be fooled, especially when people wanted to be hopeful. We agree with each other, the disillusionment has been profound.

    • #24
  25. JcTPatriot Inactive
    JcTPatriot
    @JcTPatriot

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):
    Remember, Reagan was virulently hated by the left and not supported by many on the right, but now he approaches sainthood, with a major airport and many other landmarks named after him.

    Trinity, for those of us who have read the Reagan Diary, we know about the hatred and lies that were told about the Reagan Administration by the MSM – and there was no Fox News to tell the other side. Virtually everything the MSM said about Nancy was a lie; imagine Fox News doing the same to Michelle? Lawsuits.

    The lie that Reagan and Tip O’Neill were “friends” – Reagan frequently complained to his diary that Tip would say one thing to Reagan’s face, walk out of the White House and say the exact opposite to the TV cameras. I don’t think he liked Tip at all. Did anyone, really? As Bush would say, the guy was a Major-League A-hole.

    The trouble now is that we know from the #DNCLeaks that the DNC is telling the MSM what lies to tell, and they have a willing friend in Obama, not to mention Jarrett and a host of others, feeding the MSM with information straight from intelligence agencies.

    My hope is that Trump is up to the challenge, and gives as good as he gets.

    • #25
  26. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    No kidding, Curt! First, I hope everyone knows I was never a “Never.” (Did I say that?)

    No that was me referring to Claire’s post, which you referenced.  But I should try better to stay on point.

    These threads wander off so bad at at times, I need to be part of the solution on that and not part of the problem.

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    The trouble now is that we know from the #DNCLeaks that the DNC is telling the MSM what lies to tell, and they have a willing friend in Obama, not to mention Jarrett and a host of others, feeding the MSM with information straight from intelligence agencies.

    My hope is that Trump is up to the challenge, and gives as good as he gets.

    They’re the deplorables; it’s really ugly.

    Go Trump!

    • #27
  28. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Susan Quinn: Part of my grieving process is to learn how to accept all of it, just as it is, because I cannot change it. 

    Certainly. I’m not grieving, though I suppose there are those who assume I am.

    And one thing I know for certain is that whatever is going on, it will change.

    Yes. Wait and see.

    That said, the whole mythos surrounding an election involves those folks trying to persuade to vote one way or another talking up how each of our votes counts, even when they should know better. @michaelstopa is a podcast host, which means it’s not as easy to go back through the archives of his written OPs, apparently, but I remember one post of his that basically had me in stitches for its use of “math” to talk up probabilities that I knew for a fact were much smaller than he was letting on.

    The reality is, even before we vote, these outcomes are largely out of our hands. They will be what they will be. Politics was a goat rodeo before Trump came on the scene. It won’t cease being a goat rodeo now that Trump is here. Because that’s what politics is. There’s always one or another absurd spectacle going on where politics is concerned.

    Me-e-e-eh.

    • #28
  29. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    His speech to the 2004 Democratic convention still echoed pleasantly in American ears, so he didn’t seem as if he’d be divisive. Okay, some of you might have been more skeptical than I was, but did you expect him to be especially dishonest and dishonorable by the standards of your average politician, rather than merely too leftist for your tastes?

    I didn’t think he would be as awful as he turned out, Kate, but I didn’t vote for him because I didn’t trust him, his lack of credentials, his inexperience. I didn’t care if he was black or purple; I just wanted someone who was principled with some kind of track record. I wasn’t encouraged by his being a community organizer–red flag, there, too. But I do think it was not difficult to be fooled, especially when people wanted to be hopeful. We agree with each other, the disillusionment has been profound.

    You knew more and better than I—sigh.

    Well, and it wasn’t just Obama: GWB was many things (and I loathed him at the time, though I’m quite fond of him now) but he wasn’t corrupt and vindictive, and he wasn’t divisive.  As I repeat to my progressive friends, after 8 years of Bush, we elected a black man to the presidency. After 8 years of Obama, we elected…Trump.

    That’s not to dump on Trump! It’s to point out that desperate times called for desperate measures; a “normal” politician wasn’t going to do it for us. I was listening to Mona and Jay talk about our post-factual era. The problem is that Obama was post-factual; Hillary was post-factual, the MSM was post-factual…if we don’t acknowledge that, we won’t understand how Trump was elected.

    Since the election, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Trump (and thrilled that Hillary isn’t president). He seems survivable. But it nonetheless remains the case that the ugly and unnecessary divisions need to be healed, and that is something we-the-people have to do. The president can’t do it—and this president certainly can’t, although if the economy begins to improve and people start feeling better, it will help.

     

    • #29
  30. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Love the goat punk!

    • #30
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