My Facebook timeline has been overrun by politics. It makes me yearn for the heady days of cat videos and ads for that blanket with sleeves. The relentless Trump Russia updates, the Jared Kushner investigation, the persistent frat boy beer farts: “treason,” “traitor”, unqualified, undignified, unintelligent, un-American, under investigation, unconscionable and unmitigated disaster.
And I gotta do something! Life on earth is in peril… unless… I sign this petition and share it with 10 friends.
Better yet… Do I wear a pink hat? Turn on CNN? Or, wait till Rachel Maddow breaks it all down at six? Donate to the ACLU? I’m supposed to Occupy some venue? Demonstrate against someone? March to somewhere?
Or, like Peter Finch in Network, because I’m so angry the system has failed – in a fit of madness and desperation do I just go to the window and shout “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore…”
You’ve heard of the five stages of grief when someone dies, right?
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
Well, I’ve got the 5 stages of The Trump Russia Scandal… Plus, how you can avoid the last stage: the stage where you feel dead inside.
The constitutional crises in Trump’s White House is the most serious threat to America. Ever. Even worse than the time George W. Bush tried to sell back to the Indians the Louisiana Purchase for a six-pack of Meister Brau and a fist full of lottery scratchers.
Every time I refresh my Facebook newsfeed, I’m punched in the face by bombshell headlines and breaking news. And, it’s a metric shit ton of information for the brain to absorb and process.
And look, it can all feel overwhelming. Since you started reading, there were 42 new leaks and epic takedowns.
The stages of grief after a loved one’s death can last anywhere from 6 months to 4 years… but less if the person who died is an ex-wife or a mother in law.
HOWEVER ― With Trump, it’s only been what? Like 135 days… So, here now the five stages of grief of the Trump presidency:
Disgust…Euphoria… Terror… Hopelessness… and Dead inside.
1. Disgust. I’m disgusted by the evidence and increasing number of allegations about Russian influence in our election and Trump’s collusion.
2. Next is Euphoria. Trump is a bad person. With deceptive motives and no moral compass, So, I’m euphoric that allegations of criminal behavior will result in him leaving office BEFORE the end of his first term.
3. Next, Terror. That’s the realization that “holy shit” there are A LOT of allegations – Just this week: The FBI is talking to Jared Kushner, Mike Flynn might be cooperating with the FBI, Jim Comey’s memos leak, Trump and Melania don’t hold hands, Trump shoves the president of Montenegro, Trump calls terrorists “losers.”
4. Then, there’s Hopelessness. That’s where you go “Holy shit, Trump Russia is the only thing I watch on TV” “It’s the only think I talk about” I dream about Trump… and not the pretty one! So, you’re overwhelmed… but NOTHING IS HAPPENING. HE’S STILL PRESIDENT. So, you feel hopeless.
5. And quickly, hopelessness metastasizes into feeling dead inside. You ask yourself “What can I do to help that the FBI, The House, The Senate, The Special Prosecutor, two federal courts, and the media aren’t doing?” Oh, I know! I’ll put on a pink hat?
Being awoken to the pointlessness, you shut down… nothing matters. You’re broken and beaten. Dead inside. And so, you do…Nothing!
BUT WAIT! – I have good news! You’re not alone. Those feelings, we’re all experiencing them. And science saw the whole thing coming up Broadway with an Underdog balloon.
A few years ago, scientists did an experiment inside a supermarket. They put out a display with 20 varieties of Jelly… And there’s little bits of bread and customers are encouraged to sample… And hopefully buy something. They kept track of how much jelly they sold.
They put out a different display. This time, just three kinds of jelly. And again, there’s bread and customers are encouraged to sample.
Now, which display resulted in more jars of jelly being sold? The one with 20 or the one with three kinds of Jelly?
The answer is: The second one! The one with fewer choices.
Why? Because when we’re presented with so many options, so much information, the brain doesn’t know what to prioritize and what to ignore. It focuses on the recent, not necessarily the important.
So, the brain shuts down… and instead of just picking something, anything… many people make no choice at all.
Now, the brain has an enormous capacity to take in information… When you’re driving, you see the road, how much gas is in the tank, cars all around, the weather, your speed, music, kids…
HOWEVER – this thing with Trump is different! It’s relentless. Think about how often and how fast you scroll through your Facebook timeline. The volume of headlines you read… the number of stories you click on…
The brain needs time to absorb information… but it can’t make a good decision if it’s constantly in the mode of taking in information.
So – what can you do to beat back that “dead inside” feeling? To be less stupid?
Turn off your phone. NO! Not forever. That candy is not going to crush itself. Instead of checking Facebook 100 times a day. Do it 20 times. And set a time at home where you put it down for the night… say 9pm.
Follow fewer of the political pages and groups and more about pizza and Twin Peaks. Do the same with your computer.
Recognize the feeling that comes over you when you start to get overwhelmed… so as soon as you feel it come on, go have a smoke, or get some ice cream, or better yet, get some exercise.
Oh, and I almost forgot…
There’s a sixth stage of Trump Russia Grief… HOPE! Remember that the FBI, the New York Times, Washington Post, Congress, two federal grand juries, CNN/MSNBC and a bunch of internet sleuths are doing what they do… If there’s dirt, these fuckers will find it – and the traitors, and colluders and justice obstructors will be kicked out of office… and many of them will end up in jail.
Jon Hotchkiss is a 14 time Emmy nominee for his work on Politically Incorrect and Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t. See his series, Be Less Stupid HERE.