“The false dilemma fallacy is often a manipulative tool designed to polarize the audience, heroisizing one side and demonizing the other. It’s common in political discourse as a way of strong-arming the public into supporting controversion legislation or policies.” ~ David Ferrer, 15 Logical Fallacies You Should Know Before Getting Into a Debate
Are we so set on pulling up our bootstraps we can’t recognize the sadness of a worldwide pandemic?
Many of us have lost and will lose. Jobs, homes, and 401ks. We don’t want to hear that or believe there’s a train barreling towards us. Not me is our first instinct.
Yes, denial is the first stage of grief. We’re grieving the falling away of many of our personal and societal foundations.
I know grief intimately. Not just from the deaths of my brother, mother, brother-in-law, and beloved.
By the way, when the police officer on the phone first told me he found my boyfriend dead in his bed, I screamed, “NO!!!”
That was after he tried to tell me the man I love more than anyone in the world was “unresponsive.” I wanted to know what hospital they were taking him to. My heart couldn’t hear the truth. For several years, I believed my dead man could come back to me. I kind of still do.
How deep does denial run in the face of losing who or what we love?
“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,”Donald Trump said about the Coronavirus.
Sure, I myself have practiced delusional positivity.
When my mother was diagnosed with death, I fired the doctor, determined to take her somewhere to save her. I thought the doc not only cruel, but full of sh*t.
Apparently, that’s what Trump thought of journalist Peter Alexander of NBC asking the President of the United States what he’d say to “Americans who are watching you right now who are scared.”
The Commander in Chief snapped, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter!”
Yeah, that’s how I felt about the doctor who delivered the truth in a tone I didn’t like.
Maybe our leaders aren’t always able to guide us, but sometimes reflect who we are.
I’m nothing like that jerk might be what we insert, or worse.
Or, like my ultra-successful businessman friend—who once complained about having to pay $5 million in taxes—maybe you only see the good in a man who glares with disdain for truth.
Our delusional positivity is unbending when it suits our favor.
There’s a fine line between The Secret that swept our nation in 2006, just before the worst financial crisis in our history, and our ability to look at truth, facts, science, or unbecoming characteristics of our chosen ones.
The finger I point here is at the woman in the mirror.
When five years into my marriage I felt disconnected from my husband, I focused on his good qualities and how much I loved him. I refused to look at, let alone feel anything but my good feelings because that’s what got me there.
I kept saying, “I have a great life” and “He’s a good man.” Both were true.
We like to look at our favorite side of the coin, spiritual bypass with love and light, and pretend if we adhere to affirmations, we can keep the bad at a distance. Trust me, I’ve done it.
Some people live like this for a lifetime. I’m not just talking about the naïve and blind.
We always think it’s them—the Republicans or Democrats or the kind of woman who can’t get her act together, or see what seems obvious from the outside, from our oh-so-wise perspective.
It’s easy to be objective when your heart isn’t in it.
Check this. No one would call Camille Cosby clueless. She has a doctoral degree. She wrote the forward for Dear Success Seeker: Wisdom from Outstanding Women. By all accounts, she’s one of them. She even worked as her famous husband’s manager.
Camille Cosby was in Bill’s business and knew his business, or so she thought. They shared a home and a family and a history of his proven good character. She would know if he was drugging and sexually assaulting women.
Or so she insisted against irrefutable evidence—as we often do when presented with truth that doesn’t align with what we’ve decided to shine the light on.
We like to believe if one thing is truth, that’s proof another thing (the one we don’t like) is false.
That’s how the American story goes. Think positive and take action.
That’s how my ex-husband’s business went bust while he worked his butt off and assured me everything would be fine. He wasn’t lying. He drove himself to delusional positivity and I rode that ship until it sank.
Maturity is the ability to look at the juxtapositions of life, people, and situations.
Let’s be mature as we face this pandemic. We fear certain truths will destroy us.
Yet, the brave ones on the front lines have been forced to face the truth, no matter what they told themselves or believed in the beginning.
That’s what serious sickness does. It wakes us the f*ck up.
Still, I have friends claiming this is hype. They believe their president knows more than doctors and scientists who’ve been studying and preparing for this. Ok, Camille.
I’m sorry, but this is different. This is real.
If you’re on the front lines, thank you for bringing dignity, grace, and honor to all of humanity. We are forever in your debt.
To my niece, a nurse, nephew, a cop, and other nephew, a firefighter, I could not be prouder of you or more scared for you. Please stay safe, I say, knowing where you work is the least safe place in the world right now.
Truth sets us free once we embrace it. Denial can kill. Especially now.