Stages of grief trope pushed by Obama supporters considered toxic
WKJM started running the "stages of grief" trope on Hillary supporters way back in February--you know, from anger, through denial, bargaining, depression, to acceptance. It's an easy riff to run, even for bad writers, so it's been all over the Obama blogs, and I won't trouble linking to it; I'm sure you've all read it. The ones that ooze sympathy for Hillary supporters, and urge that we be "given time" (say, two weeks) are the ones that I savor.
In fact -- and I know some will find this hard to believe -- I had a brief moment of self-doubt the other day, and, in retrospect I'm surprised that none of our resident Obama trolls played gotcha with me! By asking the question "And we get?" had I moved into stage two: Bargaining?
Fortunately, no. The Stages of Grief trope is a mindfuck. It's not appropriate for the context of this primary election, and here's why:
1. None of these oh-so-sympathetic posters ever mention that, in the classical model originated by Kübler-Ross, following acceptance, you die. So the Stages trope is really a sophisticated variant of the calls for Hillary's death--and by extension, those of her supporters.
2. Further, the Stages trope is also a variant of the "inevitability" trope; after all, "the math" of a human life always adds up to a death, right? (Cf. Ps 90:12) And just as Obama's nomination, given "the math" was inevitable, so to must be the reaction to the inevitable "loss" by Hillary's supporters.
3. Worse, the trope frames the reactions of Hillary's supporters to Obama's presumptive nomination as primarily driven by emotions, which must then be managed, in the way recommended by the Obama supporters, using the Stages. ("You know how
women Hillary's supporters are.") Importantly, that's not the reaction Hillary recommends:
The dreams we share are worth fighting for.
I entered this race because I have an old-fashioned conviction: that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their dreams.
In fact, the Stages coping strategy is only one of many possible: Ghandi's "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" is another possibility. The fact that the Stages reaction is passive and disempowering, unlike Ghandi's, may offer a clue to why Obama's supporters are recommending it to us so heartily. Eh?
3. Finally, the context is inappropriate for the model. We're not talking about "loss" in the sense of "Sorry for your loss," here; the context is not a death in the family, but an electoral loss.
Consider Bush's seizure of power after stealing election 2000 in FL. Is the Stages reaction at all appropriate? I'd say no, because the final stage, acceptance, was recommended by Scalia: "Get over it." Personally, I don't see a reason to accept Florida 2000, or Bush v. Gore, at all. Why would I? (And that the Democratic establishment did and does isn't my problem, but theirs.)
Similarly, tepid Obama voter that I am, there are plenty of things about this primary that I do not accept, and wish to remedy, not out of emotion, unless a burning sense of injustice done be one such emotion. And if it is, let's make the most of it....
I'm with Ghandi, not Kübler-Ross.