By on March 8, 2016

Embrace your election grief

160309FromOurReadersAs we navigate the emotional landscape of the current political climate one may wonder if the five stages of grief apply. All signs point to yes—we are suffering a certain kind of death and are now grieving. There is nothing new about what our country is going through despite the extreme epidemic of self-importance that has plagued Anglo-Saxons since the dawn of, well, us. The foolish many have always gleefully played rube to the crafty few, ours is an endemic case of Stockholm Syndrome. This sadly plants most of us at some stage of the grief chart, a set of responses to heartbreak that has been locked down over the years by doctors far smarter than me. The interesting thing about this system is that each stage has its own inherent power when sorting out the monstrous shit show that is election year. Let’s go through it together, shall we? Perhaps we can come out the other side better, happier people. Perhaps.

1. Denial. Remember when Trump* was a just silly orangutan you laughed at, jabbing an elbow into the ribs of the person next to you at the bar and saying, “No fucking way, hehehaha,” all while cooing like smug little children sure that the majority would never in a million years let that jester anywhere near the oval office? Remember that time? Yeah, me too. If you are still here (in denial), that means you’ve been in Tibet eating rancid yack meat or hibernating with the grizzlies, then good on ya. You are one lucky soul. Enjoy this time, eat, drink and be merry because believe me, winter is coming and with it, the Nothing**. The power of denial is sweet dreams and the comfort that ignorance provides. Stay here as long as you can because next up we have…

2. Anger. This one is tricky because it keeps cycling back in to the emotional playing field over and over. I’ve come to realize that it is juxtaposed into everything that we feel, maybe just to keep us honest. Anger is raw, real and powerful, it’s galvanizing and full of pep, it’s the force that keeps a crowd thrusting signs in the air while mace flies and riot cops march. It is an important stage and its weight shouldn’t be underestimated. If you are here (even if you are not, listen closely because you will be again), use the rage wisely. Do not direct it at the easy adversary. Why are we trying to find the people that stand with us and to ferret out those that don’t? Just so we can self righteously unfriend them with religious fervor? Do your best to ignore the “opposition” at this point, now is the time to gather your compatriots and focus on organization, strength is in the numbers. This is also the time to do your homework, arm yourself to the teeth with truth, all the many sides of it. Once the anger dies down you will need a leg to stand on; facts will help.

3. Bargaining. And just like that, all of the fire and brimstone conviction is replaced with a weary sense of how insane things really are. All you want now is to understand what on God’s green earth is happening. Now it’s time to bargain—stage three of an increasingly complex puzzle. This can manifest in many ways, though typically it’s where one attempts to negotiate a better outcome. Many well known politicians have utilized the “you don’t change horses mid stream” logic as a way to keep the public calm while the horse slowly sinks into the mire. To cut and run is supposed to be a dangerous course of action and in certain cases this is certainly possible. However, let’s be honest here, it’s only truly detrimental when you are on an actual horse, in an actual stream and are attempting to mount a new horse whilst still navigating said stream. I say go ahead and bargain, we have a better shot at meeting in the middle if we are willing to explore what the middle looks like, from a smarter horse maybe.

4. Depression. Sadly most of America is here, the fourth stage of grief. The bulk of our people have been here for many years, for an infinite array of reasons. But believe me, we do not have to be here. This one we can skip. This is a place of powerlessness and doesn’t serve anyone. From this place we make bad decisions, we lock in to belief systems that do nothing to define the heart of us: racism, classism, fear mongering and hate. Only a truly lost people can see the good in building a wall between countries. Do we really want to elect a depressed, community dividing government? Isn’t that the pure definition of “un-American?” On this I hope that we can all agree. Depression paints everything grey and this country was founded on the brilliance of color and vibrant personal freedoms, not bland, mindless conformity. So I say, let us collectively admit that depression, however natural, is not a thing for us as a nation to give in to. Extend a hand to someone that is in this sad place and pull them out, even if they bleed blue and you see red. Especially if this is the case.

5. Acceptance. Finally, we will find ourselves here. I admit that I am not there yet; you probably aren’t either, so here’s what I imagine it to look like. Let me set the stage: I have come to understand why anyone would back a jackass like Trump. I see that they feel unheard by a government of talkers that don’t seem to care that life is a struggle for many. They are looking for answers to big questions and aren’t getting any real help. The lottery of life gave me a higher education, a diverse community and a strong social network, a life that many won’t ever know. This is why we don’t always see eye to eye. I will have to approach them with kindness and compassion if I expect them to listen to my ideas. I accept that we are different, that our stories are longer and deeper than the corrupt forces that want to divide us. I accept that though we may have different values, we are all looking for the same things—life, liberty and the right to pursue happiness. I accept that they are we and we are them. I hope to reach acceptance soon. Anger is really starting to suck.

*Feel free to replace this name with Obama or Hillary, or whatever unholy force is keeping you up at night.

**You can thank me later for this ultra timely reference to The Neverending Story.

-Josi Stephens

66 buses per day

We are outraged by the ridiculously poor planning that is sending 66, 25-passenger, Town Shuttle buses each day through the heart of our quiet North Rancher Street Town Periphery neighborhood. This intense level of urban bus traffic continues to damage the character of our neighborhood while only serving on average 1.1 passengers per bus. For all intents and purposes these are giant single occupancy vehicles relentlessly roaring up and down our street.

Our neighborhood is the only Town Periphery neighborhood that is bisected by START. Town Periphery is identified by the Comprehensive Plan as the least intensive character district in town. We do not have a START bus stop in our neighborhood, nor does the Comp plan envision START service in our neighborhood. The stops that are served by all these buses are in the Rancher/Hansen Residential Core district, which is a much more intense character district and calls for START service. START has a responsibility to keep the impacts of its buses contained in the character districts that the buses are designed to serve. That could easily be accomplished without altering service in any way. Why do START and our elected officials continue to stonewall our concerns and ram all these buses down our throats?

In addition to the long overdue removal of North Rancher Street from the routing of START buses, START needs to immediately implement a more efficient plan to serve the stops that are east of Redmond Street. Smaller vehicles that are scheduled only during times of peak demand will capture more riders per bus without the appalling inefficiency and disruption of the current system.

We are asking START, Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Commissioners to please stop damaging the character of our neighborhood, and to please stop ignoring the guidance of their own Comprehensive Plan.

-Dean and Patsy Erickson, Christi Biolchini Yannelli and Alan Yannelli
East Jackson

About Various Authors

Sometimes it takes a village.

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