Apr 22, 2009
Living in Denial - Or - Don't Worry, Be Happy!
You know how we live most of our lives in denial of death? Most of us have entirely accepted the idea of our mortality intellectually. But, we don't spend any significant amount of time thinking about it because part of us knows it will ruin our lives, right here, right now. I think this state of denial is a gift from God and who am I to turn it down? Since reverting to Catholicism, I've got some of that weird "at peace with death" thing going on, but that's a discussion for another time.
What I'd like to address now is something strange I've experienced since Obama became president. I'm not talking about since he was elected. I think I actually had a decent grip on reality at that point. I was resigned to the fact and still hoped, with lots of skepticism, he might surprise those of us who were convinced he was a hard-left radical with no proven leadership ability. It's confirmed - I was right to be skeptical. But, this is different. What I'm experiencing now is a post-inaugural defense mechanism.
My sister says she keeps thinking she's going to wake up from this nightmare. I can relate, but I realize now my state of mind is something more like how I handle death - or more accurately - how I live as if death isn't my ultimate end. Intellectually, I know our president is a sanctimonious poseur. And I also know we'll be lucky if the effects of who he is are merely devastating and not globally catastrophic. But, psychologically, my mind refuses to deal with the fact that this man goes into the Oval Office everyday when he's home from his latest apology tour and "rules the world!" I just don't go there. Yes - I read the news and listen to the arguments on talk radio. But, the only way I maintain my sanity is by processing this presidency as if it were an extended season of The West Wing. The Obamas live on a set which strongly resembles the White House. It simply can't be the same space recently occupied by the manifestly decent Bush family and before them some of the great leaders of our great and beloved nation. The Obamas travel the world meeting heads of state in the way Queen Elizabeth serves as a figurehead for Great Britain. It is all a very pleasant visual (for some), but without significance. There is an unreality to it and that's just fine with me. I'll deal with it when I absolutely have to - like death. Until then STUFF... IT... IN... THAT... BOX! And whatever you do - don't let it out. It could ruin your life.
P.S. The only time I experience a breakdown is when I consider what a betrayal his election is to our military. Aaaargh!