Grief and Politics

During this election season, I have taken great pains to not get political. I believe that everyone’s opinion on who they want to vote for is just that, theirs. Also, there has been way too much division during this election season for me to want to select a side and tout them from this platform, because I feel that when we are talking about grief and loss we really do not want to be reminded about what the world and our election system has come to. However, with the election now only days away, I feel that it is necessary to stay grief related and talk about the day AFTER the election.

Late Tuesday night, and for some of you in other parts of the country, early Wednesday morning over half of the country will wake up angry, or in some sort of turmoil, over the person that was ultimately elected to fill what is arguably the most powerful seat in the world. If Trump wins the McMullinites, Clintonites, Steinites, and Johnsonites will be uneasy about the selection. Likewise, if Clinton wins the Trumpites, McMullinites, Steinites, and Johnsonites will be uneasy about the selection. What everyone has to understand is that for almost two years our country has been so invested in this election that when it is over, there will be a grief reaction by those who have invested of themselves the most. And, most probably, by those who didn’t invest themselves publicly but internally as well.  So how will this grief over the selection of the other candidate present itself within our homes and communities?

Imagine you wake up next Wednesday and your candidate did not fare well. What will your reaction be? Some may say anger. Some may say trepidation and an honest concern for the future of our country. Some may just feel a general malaise or depression. And still others may breathe a sigh of relief that it is finally OVER. The thing about grief is that there is no determining how it will affect you. Each and every one of you will grieve differently. What is important is that you first identify the primary feeling you are having and deal with it head on.

Suppose your response to the loss of your candidate is anger. Since anger is not a primary emotion, you must realize that you were ‘something else’ before you were angry. Try to identify that ‘something else’. Does your anger stem from insecurity about your place in this newly elected individual’s world? Does your anger stem from a depression that comes from knowing everything you have poured into your candidate is for naught? Or, does your anger stem from a feeling that “your vote didn’t count”? No matter where your anger emanates, you must identify its source before you can address it.

Once you have identified the source of your anger, it becomes necessary to address that source. For some, addressing this source will only come from an unwanted acceptance of the results. For others, addressing this source will mean becoming involved in the political process in some way to help fix the things your candidate said they would fix but now can’t because they lost. For others still, addressing that source may mean activism and protest. Either way it is paramount to your recovery and, honestly, the recovery of our nation that everyone address their underlying emotions in a way that is healthy and productive for our country at large.

For the other emotions you find yourself experiencing, the course of action may be virtually the same: Identify the emotion and then try to face it head on through a method of acceptance or a drive toward being part of the solution and not part of the problem. As with all grief, this is what it truly comes down to: are you willing to accept what has happened in some way, shape, or form?

No matter the result of the election this coming Tuesday night, there are those who are already in grief over the fact that this campaign season has sunk to a new low in negatives. It is likely that these people, while relieved by the fact the current election term is over, will likewise begin to feel trepidation, fear, or depression over where our country can go from here.

In my opinion (ALERT, ALERT), this election season has shown that our system is at the bottom of the proverbial barrel and it is time that we, as Americans of every race, creed, color, religion, or political persuasion step forward and say “we aren’t going to take it anymore.” We need to fix it so that the American people elect their president, and not some collection of electoral votes. We need to return our government to the idea of the “citizen statesman” (and woman); a time when people were elected by their communities and sent to Washington to speak on the COMMUNITY’s behalf and not to pad their pockets with the money of lobbyists and special interest groups. Then, after you have served your community and country honorably, you return home to a real job. Let’s return to a time when our politicians made a real difference and were honest, upstanding citizens and not lying and manipulating career politicians.

My opinion shows that I am, and will still be, experiencing a grief reaction over this entire process after Tuesday night just as you will. Let’s all pull together and support each other and face the resulting emotions in a way that is healthy and productive and in a desire to make things better. The only true solution to the emotions you may feel the day after the election is the acknowledgement that no matter the results God is in control and we need to trust in that. This is probably not the first, nor will it be the last time we have been unhappy with God’s choices and timing. We need to trust in our creator to utilize whoever is elected to bring revival to His church and glory and honor to Himself.

As a footnote to this little soapbox I have stood on for the past few paragraphs: every vote counts so make sure you exercise the right many men and women have died to give us and VOTE on TUESDAY, November 8, 2016.