On the personal level, the progression of states is described as follows: (adapted from Wikipedia)
- Denial—"I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual.
- Anger—"Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
- Bargaining—The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay the inevitable. "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
- Depression—During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of the outcome. "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "What's the point? Why go on?" Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
- Acceptance—"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with his dilemma.
- Denial—"America, love it or leave it"; "My country, right or wrong"; "Land of the free and home of the brave." Firm dedication to the concept of American exceptionalism. If America does it, it must be virtuous. Never second guess the government. This is the kindergarten view of America and the world. Belief in everything you learned in elementary school and the Cub/Boy/Girl Scouts. For most Americans, this stage is anything but temporary. Probably 90 % of Americans are in this stage, and as long as American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and Jersey Shore are among the most popular shows on TV, they'll be here forever.
- Anger—"These politicians are all a bunch of lying, self serving bastards!"; "Those greedy banksters need to go to jail."; "First, we need to shoot all the lawyers." Stage two often has a precipitating event. Something happens that rouses the typically apathetic voter from his slumber. It might be something real like TARP (bank fraud, crony capitalism, regulatory capture), or overstepping Constitutional boundaries as evidenced by the EPA, the FCC, or the TSA. Or it might be a politically manufactured outrage like the class warfare preached by the Democrats in support of their tax policy. For most, the anger never really materializes into anything tangible. Most will just continue to vote or not vote as they always have. Once in a while, someone will switch from one incumbent party to the other incumbent party. As if going from Tweedle Dee to Tweedle Dum , or vice versa, will make any difference.
- Bargaining—The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay the inevitable. It involves the hope that the individual can somehow make a difference. People become activists. They join a Tea Party organization, and become active in a political party. They call their Congressman and state legislators. They go to rallies and write letters to the editor. "Don't tread on me."; "Term limits. Throw the bums out.". They donate money to political causes. "I'll do whatever I have to do. If only there was a way to make a difference." They might even become Libertarians and run for political office themselves. "Smaller government, lower taxes, more freedom."
- Depression—During the fourth stage, the
dyingperson begins to understand the certainty of the outcome. "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "What's the point? Why go on?" Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
- Acceptance—"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with his dilemma. He moves to the country and starts growing his own food. He pulls his money out of the bank and cuts up his credit cards. He buys a generator and removes himself from the grid, not just literally, but politically and financially speaking as well. He stops voting, and he stops paying his taxes. He stops calling the bills in his wallet money and starts referring to them as Federal Reserve Notes. He tries to make all of his purchases with those FRN's as long as he can find anybody willing to take them. He stockpiles gasoline, fuel oil, firewood, water, canned goods, precious metals, guns, and ammo. He also stockpiles cigarettes and alcohol even though he doesn't smoke or drink because they're good for barter.
But, at least with grief, you always end up with acceptance. One way or another, that's the end of the line. Like it or not, it's reality. If you're dying, refusal is not an option. With a political awakening, some people never leave the "denial" phase. They go to their graves believing their government is here to help. We can only hope that their faith is not misplaced and acceptance is not an inevitable requirement. That is, we hope we've chosen a poor analogy. We hope there's a way out. Otherwise we all better start checking out the internet for productive farmland.
Will and Jess McVay