Situational Depression

Beware! The first signs of something both personally and nationally troubling are beginning to emerge.

While Hillary Clinton was not universally loved by the people who voted for her, the expectation of a Clinton victory was so widespread that the actual results sparked serious anxiety and fear, both of which are widespread and growing.

The symptoms—and I see some in myself—are loss of energy, loss of hope in the future, and fear of the unknown. None of this is unusual and should have been more expected. How long it may last and what to do about it do not lend themselves to easy answers.

If you feel lethargic and want to stay in bed with the covers over your head; if your appetite is waning; if you do not have the energy to go see a movie you had wanted to see; if you have one more commiserating phone call with a fellow traveler; if you have begun to cancel plans a few weeks out; even if your retirement portfolio went up by 3% after the election and you feel both guilty and befuddled—these and many other similar symptoms are clearly signs of your situational depression.

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NORMAL. Do not stress out over these symptoms. They are to be expected in some degree by all normal people.

The first thing to do about this is to simply recognize this for what it is. What you are worried about is real and should be worried about, but dipping too deep into your worry can not only make you feel worse but could lead to a serious capitulation of national political will.

I recently recommended a new book called Hitler’s Ascent. I am not saying Trump is the same as Hitler (though there are similarities) but when Hitler was finally elected in 1932, the German leadership population withdrew in horror and disbelief. If they had stood their ground, the world today probably would be a different place.

We must gather our skirts and start carefully to ENGAGE in serious steps to rebuild our own hopes, plans, and expectations. All the same, we have time to think about what we might do with our time and money to support long term rebuilding of the centrist political activities necessary to having lively and attractive alternatives to Washington-based programs.

It will be a tough time for several years, and those of us over 80 may never see a rational national government again. But our descendants should not and cannot submit to hopelessness.

Calm, rational centrist David Brooks predicted a few days ago that Trump would be gone in a year. I have no idea how he came up with that. But even if he is right, that alone will not wipe the slate clean.

We have to get new leadership in the Democratic Party and new candidates for the House and Senate in 2018. That alone should keep a lot of us busy.



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