We need to move beyond disappointment, grief and confusion.
Some of us remain in denial, the first stage of grief. In this stage it is typical to refuse to believe what has happened. It is hard to admit that we are fighting the wrong war, and have sacrificed precious resources, our reputation, and our dignity in the process.
Others have progressed beyond denial, to anger. They blame others for these losses. When confronted with the reality of what has transpired, they become easily agitated and indulge in emotional outbursts... attacking those who question them or who try to reach beneath their anger. Each new death or atrocity adds fuel to the fire.
Many have reached the point of bargaining. They blame religion, try to rationalize loss, or retreat to other futile tactics, trying to make things right. There is understandable melancholy over the deaths of innocents and even depression about misplaced priorities. This difficult stage of grief inspires confusion and feelings of helplessness.
Before election day comes, we need to face facts. We must understand that life has to go on, let go of our anger, and stop trying to bargain. We will still experience feelings of loss, but these will become less intense and less frequent. When we accept the mistakes made, we can regain energy and refocus our efforts on the future.
This fall we can vote for peace, freedom, reconciliation, and renewal. John Kerry can lead us to national regeneration by stemming the flow of resources and red ink. Instead of allowing this conflict to bleed us dry, we can persuade our allies to help fund the reconstruction. These savings can be redirected to building a future for our children.
As Elie Wiesel said, "We have to go into the despair and go beyond it." We can move beyond despair, accept our losses, and replace disappointment and confusion with resolve. Responsible leadership will allow us to reconcile our grief and put this tragedy behind us.
best regards, Tim Flanagan