Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dealing with "suspension"

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross died today. This reminds me of this post I wrote on Edwards campaign blog after the suspension of his Presidential bid on Sunday March 07, 2004. The blog was chaotic, people were grieving, screaming, was an unpleasant place to be. I wrote this, and Rich Persaud never talked to me again. I also re-posted this on the

Nittany and I independently had this same thought while reading the blog and the new forums: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression/Sadness and Acceptance, according to psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross are the stages of dealing with death and dying. We came to the conclusion that JRE supporters are dealing with "suspension" by going through the same psychological phases. I was quick through the first three phases (Tuesday night, a long night for sure), it took me more than three days to go through Sadness (during which I barely logged on, did not read newspapers, watch TV etc.), and now I think I have reached Acceptance. Of course, people in different stages do not "grok" each other and are angry at each other due to misunderstanding of the process, just like people get mad if a husband seems to go through the grieving process of his wife's death too fast - he gets ostracized - what? - a new woman already?! But, people in various stages are still JRE supporters, and are still performing various functions, sometimes related to their stage.

For instance, people in the Denial stage (e.g., cw, or even John Mucci) still have hope for JRE 2004 and are working actively on pushing people to keep voting for JRE in the remaining primaries - a very useful thing to do. It is very important to stress that voting for JRE in the primaries does NOT, IN ANY WAY, hurt Kerry - he is so far ahead, no amount of voting against him will derail his candidacy. But having plenty of support for JRE is an important message to send, gathering more delegates is important for the Convention, and, should an emergency situation arise, JRE will be a shoo-in for the nomination.

People in the Anger phase, e.g., Rich Persaud, are busy investigating what went wrong and uncovering some nasty dirt that has to be reported. Again, a very useful function.

People in the Bargaining phase are vocal for getting JRE on the VP slot. Not a bad idea, and the energy gets him more votes in the primaries, some buzz, etc.

People in the Sadness phase perform a useful function of putting together pictures, articles, music, speeches etc on the websites - again an important thing to do.

Finally, people in the Acceptance phase are looking into the future and preparing the ground for further involvement. Soon enough, all of us will be in this phase and move on together.

Just my thoughts. Of course there are shades of grey, as well as other colors in this spectrum. I thought this post would give people an idea why there is currently, and temporarily, disagreement between some people. It is not due to substantive differences, but dealing with emotional ramifications of the events and each one of us has to deal with it in one's own way. Each one of us also chooses to remain active and keep working in one area or another and each effort is useful and welcome. We are all in it together, and a new mood and a new cause will crystalize soon. Reference to emotion does not in any way imply lack of logic, reason and rationality of action. Most of the recent research on cognition suggests that emotion is a trigger for every action and every word,i.e. without emotion we would be cabbages - sitting in one place soaking rays. Emotion need not be tumultuous or negative. Word "Anger", as used here, is a technical term in psychology and does not imply that any person during this phase is actually angry, even less that such a person can be characterized as an "angry person". The word "death" in this context is also a technical term in psychology, not neccessarily related to a real biological demise of a person. A death of an idea, or a cause, or an ambition, is technically still "death" in dry scientific jargon, and should not convey the funerary imagery.

P.S. If you re-read my post, as well as my responses to the responders, you will see that there was no negativity or denigration in my post whatsoever. It was an attempt at explanation of the highly-strung behavior observed on this blog in the last few days. I hear that Dean and Clark blogs also went through this phase, but are now back to serious business of planning for the future and getting rid of Bush. The fact that each individual goes through the phases of "grieving", or "shifting gears" if you need a more emotionally-neutral term, at one's own pace and order may be the source of mutual misunderstanding between some people here. What is most important is the fact that I do not detect any paralysis. People are dealing with the "death of a dream" in a healthy way - motivated and energized to make a difference: to right the wrongs, to fix the system, to DO something to reach the goals even though the method and vehicle for reaching such goals have suddenly changed. Thus, do not get hung up on words. Death, anger, grieving are technical terms. Emotion is not bad. Rich Persaud is not an angry person. What Rich is doing is a valuable service, a highly rational venture, and the emotional source of motivation for such action cannot possibly be a negative thing.

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