The five stages of death of a democracy and how voting can be the miracle cure!
Nearly a half century ago, as a young medical student and physician, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was horrified by the poor treatment and lack of basic empathy for terminally ill patients in hospitals. From these experiences, in 1969, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, wrote the renowned book entitled, "On Death and Dying." In it, she outlined the five stages of death and bereavement that human beings undergo while facing imminent demise or the certain loss of a loved one. Dr. Kubler-Ross labeled these five stages of grief, sequentially known as, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Today, this pattern of phases, that we have a propensity for when dealing with tragedy, may be a larger metaphor that embodies the past five years of our dying democracy.
Denial, the rejection and rebuffing of irrefutable reality, is categorically how most of us felt on September 11, 2001. We were in awe and awestruck at the images and events that brought crashing down the two towering pillars that was a simile for American pride and power. The abject reality of implausible loss, united with the abysmal failure of our government to thwart such an insidious attack, was eclipsed by silent reverberations of thought and sentiment that echoed, "This can't be happening here!" America was in shock and the surreal was too much to bear as rational reality.
Disbelief and doubt rapidly were replaced by anger and fury. America is a proud, often hubris nation that never takes kindly to bully tactics let alone assaults on the motherland. No, the "Home of the Brave" was enraged and those responsible must suffer the wrath of the American military might. Obliteration was too well-mannered and annihilation was tantamount to a degrading and crushing victory over the perpetrators who inflicted us with so much pain and mayhem. In swift fashion, American forces overwhelmed and dealt a devastating defeat to the Taliban, which only left America unconvinced and unfulfilled that justice had been served up. Americans lacked satiety; they were ravenous for more blood and retribution, subsequently adding reprisal and vengeance to the menu of resentment.
Insatiable for a reckoning, Americans beat the war drums further; our leaders balked at trust, honor, and integrity while the bidding and bargaining began. We bargained away our birthright, our soul as a nation and our rights. We bartered away individual liberty, trading in those sacred cornerstones of democracy for draconian laws such as torture and the loss of habeas corpus. We swapped freedom for safety and slithered away to hide under a rock, peering out, glinting to see if the mushroom clouds had begun cascading over our heads. Buoyant that substituting consternation over character, safety over sensibility would ensure our survival and existence. We as a nation were no longer proud or brave, but just foolishly afraid, forfeiting away personal independence and national sovereignty. We had bargained away our conscience, our dignity, and our ability to command respect globally in the face of baseless, inculcated talk of fear and dread.
The mushroom clouds never came. The weapons of mass destruction never materialized. Iraq was cleared of any connection with the Taliban. Yet the oppressive set of laws, ostensibly to offer superior security from these false allegations where ushered in with break-neck speed and extemporaneous oversight. America was now depressed and sullen. Most of all, we had defeated ourselves by allowing stories of misconception, myths of artificial antagonists to dominate our consciousness and the warped, grand designs of a government gone awry to deceive us and fracture our will to remain liberated and protected simultaneously.
The first step to recover from any crisis is always identification and acceptance. Shortly after hurricane Katrina, people began to identify with the real truth; the same truth that the Whitehouse had voraciously attempted to hide in a maelstrom of prevarication and unadulterated lies. The truth that we all must accept responsibility for the direction of our country, the injustices we have allowed to be committed in our name and the duty to force a course correction to bring America back from the threshold of tyranny. It is imperative we accept that our democracy may die if we fail to take action to restrain a government that has been treacherously wrestled away from us all. We must all act as guardian citizens to restore the balance of power to its rightful owners the people of the United States.
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross died in August of 2004 at the age of 78. Shortly before her death, she conceded to her own mortality, but offered a final piece of profound advice that as we head to Election Day, should not go unheeded even while dying, healing can occur. November 7, 2006 can be that day, if only we get out and vote for a cure!
Frank J. Ranelli is an independent scholar, skeptic and critic, author and essayist. His erudite and iconoclastic style of provocative writing has been extensively published in a variety of news outlets and across (more...)