According to a famous and enduring formulation on Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, grief proceeds through five stages: Denial, Rage, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. In addition to and perhaps as much as in its application to dying, the scheme has found great utility in describing the reactions of political movements, especially those on the left. The reason that the language of grief and dying is especially appropriate for a description of liberalism as opposed to conservatism is because of the transcendental nature of the left’s approach to politics.
When the left loses an election, it is the end of the world. The trauma is vastly more profound than when the right loses an election because the left is “of this earth” while the right is spiritual, the left is concerned with the progress of history, the right is concerned with the progress of their kids in school. The left is sanctimonious, the right has got a life.
I don’t mean to suggest at all that when conservatives lose an election, or a legislative battle or a Supreme Court case that it doesn’t sting. It stings! But compare the adjustments that conservatives have made to the election of Obama in 2008 to the crazed hysteria which liberals underwent with the election of Bush in 2000 or even (ok, 2000 was a special case) in 2004 with the defeat of Kerry.
Well, in the battle over Obamacare, we are reaching the moment of truth. You will not find here any magic prognostication. How the SCOTUS will rule is anybody’s guess and my own personal approach is to cross fingers, pray to Saints, pick up pennies, avoid black cats crossing my path and whatever other talismans might just exert some pull on the cosmic forces.
But the left is advancing like a clock through the stages of grief.
Denial was nicely illustrated by Nancy Pelosi with her now famous: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
Rage has been illustrated by the President himself (or should I say “Himself”) recently when he insisted that the Court would be behaving in an unprecedented fashion by overturning a law that was passed by Congress. (that’s rage and fundamental, Constitutional ignorance, of course).
The stage of bargaining is described in livestrong.com as follows:
The bargaining stage is characterized by attempting to negotiate with a higher power or someone or something you feel, whether realistically or not, that has some control over the situation.
Enter Time Magazine and their fawning cover story on Anthony Kennedy. Really, nothing could be so blatant an attempt at bargaining as the syrupy and ponderous article on Anthony Kennedy, complete with historical Time Black and White cover portrait, in the latest issue of Time Magazine. It is so respectful. It is so meticulous in its flattering coverage of the Justice’s habits and history and quirks: his early life in Sacramento which he looks back on wistfully, his conscientious and thorough vetting of all cases at the small table in his office with his clerks, his charming anecdote about taking a picture for tourists in front of the Supreme Court who had no idea who he was.
Here, the Scribes of Liberaldom say, we will honor you. Did we say “honor?” No, we will canonize you! Good Morning America? Everyday! Lovely girls? Fast Cars? Tell us! What do you want??! You can have anything. Anything!
Just bite the damned apple!
Meanwhile, I am sitting here silently…praying to Saints…keeping fingers crossed.