Trump and the Stages of Grief: Turning Anger into Action

Inscribed above the entrance to Trump Tower:  “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”,  (“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”)

Are you still having nightmares?  In the middle of the day do you suddenly feel insecure? Are you overly “snappy” with people? All part of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Few of us are past anger, and we may not be for a very long time;  many us of are mired in denial. What did we do wrong?  Maybe if we had volunteered for a few more days, dug deeper in our pockets,  knocked on more doors. Why are we still flagellating ourselves?

We can direct our anger (instead of eating more fattening, unhealthy foods) by getting more engaged. Over the last few days I’ve marched, clicked on emails and joined online protests, called my elected officials and tried to hook up with every attempt to express our anger, a growing, seething anger. Every time Trump opens his mouth he fuels my anger: I don’t think I’ll ever get past my anger, nor should I.

How do we stop or turn around Trump?

Trump was not an Tea Party ideologue before his candidacy; however, he nominated ideologues to a number of cabinet posts. Health and Human Services (Price)  Education (DeVos), , Attorney General (Sessions), Labor (Puzder), Environmental Protection (Pruitt), Management and Budget (Mulvaney) and Energy (Perry) and others; and, in his first week his “optics” are from the Tea Party playbook

Executive orders to: “build the fence,” build the oil pipelines, “enhanced” interrogation (aka, torture), and with an upcoming Supreme Court nominee who probably favors stoning for unpopular speech.

Trump sees himself as the rescuer, creating a booming economy by creating jobs and destroying our current enemy, Radical Islam, around the world; however, his deal with the devil, by appointing a host of ideologues he thinks he has “bought off” the Tea Party types in Congress. Gail Collins in the New York Times sees VP Mike Pence as “pulling the strings,” similar to Cheney in the Bush presidency.

We are on the edge of plunging into the abyss, I am reminded of Dante’s Inferno, are we entering the Ninth Circle?

“Virgil described the Ninth Circle of the Inferno as the lowest, blackest, and farthest from Heaven. Treachery is the ninth Circle of Hell … the last circle is dedicated to those people who betrayed their loved ones, friends, best friends, countries, cities, guests, and even their masters”

Before Lucifer begins gnawing on our frozen body it might be time to respond.

We can turn our anger into action.

  1. Fight Back

* Keep signing those petitions, send those emails, however, phone calls matter most!!!

* Call your Congressman, Assembly and State Senate members, every week. “My name is ***** and I am a constituent.”  Be polite and insistent, and keep calling even if they agree with you.

  1. Get Involved – Take That Extra Step

* Is there a political organization in your neighborhood? Join the club, go to the meetings

* Run for County Committee, the lowest rung on electoral ladder.

  1. Build an E-List: a list of people with whom you have some influence. Family members, neighbors, faith-based organization members and send them “educational” info – educate them and urge them to get involved.
  1. Facebook is easy; however, you’re posting to “friends,” and most Facebook posts don’t ask for a specific action.
  1. This is a Marathon, not a Sprint

We’re going to be fighting the fight for FOUR years, every day, the battles will seem endless, and extremely frustrating, meet with like-minded friends, celebrate victories and plan together.

Yes, the stock market has hit an all-time high and investors are encouraged; however, the market is fickle, as the Trump bandwagon stumbles, as it will, investors abhor buffoonery, and are perfectly willing to watch the run-up before snatching their profits. Who will Trump blame when the stock market dives?  Maybe like Henry Ford he’ll re-issue the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman has a bleak picture of the Trump economic policies and the politicization of news- aka alternative facts.

Trumpism … will actually shrink manufacturing despite the big noise made about saving a few hundred jobs here and there.

On the other hand, by then the Bureau of Labor Statistics may be thoroughly politicized, commanded to report good news whatever happens.

Between the coasts, in the red counties and states citizens feel they are strangers in their own land, (Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, By Arlie Russell Hochschild)

Hochschild , a distinguished Berkeley sociologist is a woman of the left, but her mission is empathy, not polemics. She takes seriously the Tea Partiers’ complaints that they have become the “strangers” of the title — triply marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism. The people who feel this are white. The usurpers they picture are blacks and immigrants. Hochschild takes care not to call anyone racist but concludes that “race is an essential part of this story.” 

A friend was born and educated in the South, moved to New York City and spend a career as a teacher in the public school system, retired, and moved back to the South. A ritual in her town, new to me, is the movie marathon. At a local cineplex in a mall viewers see a movie at eleven, discounted lunch at a restaurant, an afternoon movie, dinner, and an evening movie. The movies, Moonlight and Hidden Figures, morphed into a discussion about race and Trump.  Most of her “movie mates” voted for Trump, as one said, “the least of two evils.” They support the Fence, they support keeping out “people from dangerous countries,” they fear Trump will reduce Social Security and Medicare, hope “fixing” Obamacare will not bump off the sick and their children, happy about the rising stock market, and, mostly, confused and angered about the demonstrations. “Give the man a chance,” was expressed again and again. I asked my friend, “Are you educating them?” She smiled, “It’s a slow process.”

Politeness is deeply embedded in the South as well as a deep commitment to the church. My daughter-in-law’s brother couldn’t call me by my first name for a couple of years and still uses “Sir” when we chat. The church is a vital part of people’s lives. Patriotism is a core value, as is military service, criticizing your country, in public, is almost treasonous.

Southerners, “red staters,” are not stupid or uneducated, they come from a different culture, and must be educated. Education can be a slow and tedious process, many of us have spent our lives educating the masses, one step at a time. The light bulb may flicker, if we do our job properly it eventually glows.

Tight your belt, hitch up your jeans, we’re in for the long run. A few extra days in the gym, maybe a little increase in the wine consumption, you now have a second job: saving our nation from political autocracy and economic ruin.


2 responses to “Trump and the Stages of Grief: Turning Anger into Action

  1. Is this REALLY true? (The TT engraving thing)

    Sent from David’s iPad.

    “Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all-the apathy of human beings” – Helen Keller



  2. In Dante’s poem, the Inferno he describes the phrase as inscribed above the Gates of Hell … Trump Tower, Gates of Hell, no difference


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