The Five Stages of Political Grief
This is the column I never wanted to have to write. But it’s time. Next week I’ll be writing about the many iterations of Mitt Romney and what that does or doesn’t mean for a potential presidency (preview: what politicians “believe” matters a lot less than you think!). That will be my last column before the election (gulp). After the election, this column can’t be written. Either Barack Obama wins and this column is irrelevant, or Mitt Romney wins and this column will be impossible to write, because the columnist can’t write the column because the columnist can’t form logical, cogent thoughts because the columnist has entered into the stages of grief. So best to document those stages now. Though, for the record, I still believe Obama will win the election (insert joke here about how the columnist is already in denial). Let’s begin.
Stage 1: Denial
You tell yourself this can’t be happening. You toggle between websites. You keep clicking “refresh.” Maybe the headlines are wrong. Yes, the headlines are definitely wrong. Remember Dewey-Truman!
You refuse to accept the Electoral College numbers. You will do your own math, on the back of the envelope Michelle sent you when she invited you to dinner. You subtract a few EC votes from Arkansas, give them to Maryland. You will get Obama to 271 one way or another, goddammit. You print out a blank map and you color Ohio and Virginia in blue. Look how bright blue they are. How could they be otherwise! Osama Bin Laden is dead, isn’t he!
Maybe there will be a recount. Yes, definitely, there will be a recount. Or maybe the Supreme Court will step in and decide. John Roberts will side with the liberals. John Roberts would do that, wouldn’t he? He’s totally reasonable.
You tell yourself Obama is still president. He is still President until January 20th. Perhaps he will unilaterally legalize gay marriage before then. Perhaps he will appoint himself dictator, just like all the crazy conservatives said he would.
You go back and read 538 articles from August. Nate Silver said 70%. NATE SILVER SAID! NATE SILVER IS NEVER WRONG!
Stage 2: Anger
Here comes the snarling. And the profanity. You are cursing more than Rudy Giuliani says 9/11.
You start in with the blaming. In ascending order: Nate Silver, Michael Bloomberg, P90X, Chris Matthews, Greece, James O’Keefe, the original Boston Tea Party, Scranton, soccer moms, death panels, polling, Twitter, the filibuster, small businesses, Joe Lieberman, all your Jewish friends who couldn’t talk any sense into their grandparents, the time you went to see Argo instead of going door-to-door, the altitude in Denver, everyone in Ohio. What the hell is wrong with Ohio?! Again?! Really?! Why do they always get to decide?! And why is it so flat and boring whenever you drive through?!
You read The Corner. You read the commenters at The Corner. You troll them. Oh, do you ever. You watch Hannity. You do all this just to make yourself angrier. Wow, your anger is really coursing through you now. You can feel your anger. You use your aggressive feelings to tailgate vehicles with Romney-Ryan bumper stickers. You let the hate flow through you. It has made you powerful.
You say things like: Yeah, GOP, how you like dealing with the fiscal cliff now, huh?
Stage 3: Bargaining
Hey, you tell yourself, at least we kept the Senate. The Senate ain’t nothing, right? Obamacare will only die a slow, partial death. They won’t be able to kill it outright on day one, right! Amirite!
You make promises, desperate promises. You will donate to Mother Jones and The Nation if they can somehow uncover that the Ohio election machines were rigged. You will say that waterboarding isn’t torture if Moderate Mitt banishes Severely Conservative Mitt to a third-world black site. You will like Sarah Palin on Facebook if Michelle Bachmann doesn’t get a cabinet spot. You will convert to Mormonism, if only Democrats can keep the Senate majority throughout Romney’s term.
You tell yourself there’s always Canada. You know you said you’d move there after 2004, but this time you really will.
You tell yourself that even if we lose the majority, there’s still the filibuster. You love the filibuster, you have always loved the filibuster. Long live the filibuster!
Stage 4: Depression
Okay, somehow they killed it outright on day one. How did they do this? Oh, well—we’ll all die in the end, anyway.
You think longingly of Canada, but what’s the point? It’s so cold and far away. The Koch Brothers probably own it by now anyway. Maybe you will think about moving there, as soon as you get out of bed and put on underwear.
You don’t get out of bed. You don’t even want to read Gail Collins. What’s the point of standing up? The Senate Dems won’t.
The following make you cry: dogs that resemble Bo, old emails from Bill Burton asking for $9, the inevitable Hitler Parody video on YouTube.
You come to understand the economy is going to add 12 million jobs over four years, just like economists predicted/Mitt Romney promised, and thus Mitt Romney is going to be reelected. You consider for a brief moment that you want the economy to fail. Then you realize you have just acted just like Congressional Republicans have for the last four years. You ask yourself what this means. What does anything mean?
Stage 5: Acceptance
You delete the emails asking you for $9—it’s time.
You remind yourself Mitt Romney is a good robot who loves his family.
You watch the Hitler Parody video on YouTube and you laugh about it.
You have a girlfriend and a dog, and no president can change that.
You make peace with trickle-down economics. You wait patiently for the trickle down, you know it’s coming. Any day it will be here.
You remind yourself that Canada is cold. You hate cold weather! It’s warm here. Really warm. It’s getting warmer ever year, it seems—it’s like God loves us. America is great! We have great ethnic food, and no president can change that (probably, depending on the President’s immigration policies).
You tell yourself we got through eight years of W.
You read Garrison Keillor, and he tells you: “It’s a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning.”
You dream of Hillary, Hillary in 2016.