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Senior Momentum - December 2016 - Zoë Tummillo


OMG...Was that Kool Aid?

by Zoe Tummillo

Well, if it was, it probably doesn’t matter now. I had the chance to listen to one of the survivors back then, and they said no it didn’t matter. What mattered, he said, was making sure you looked like you drank it long enough to make the “fake-it” outlast the rude awakening of sweetened death

The analogy occurred to me as I watched easily the most bizarre presidential competition of my life. After the primaries (like after the Kool Aid) it actually couldn’t have gotten much worse behaviorally speaking! It was what it was: a posturing debacle played out on the world stage, chock full of everything my Civics teacher cautioned against, everything he deeply believed America would always and eventually rise above! (May Duane Kocina rest easy in his grave...)

It isn’t about taking sides or changing sides (or points-of-view) repeatedly! (That more than proved itself a winning tactic!) It matters less and less as we lurch through an aftermath; ask anyone in trauma medicine or law enforcement. They can spell it out for you nicely and cleanly: there’s no pulling back after the Kool Aid – there’s only carrying on. That is, if you can find the motive, the strength and the will.

The fun part (if there was one) of watching the candidacy charade was the flexibility, agility and transparency of world-stage players who truly believed they were strategic geniuses. Concepts of love, hate, integrity, loyalty and sincerity have all been revisited and redefined (and those are just a few). Our youth are cynical way before their time and way out of proportion to their years. But what do you think you would think if you were eleven or twelve or eighteen? I remember that I ate patriotism up like a Hershey chocolate bar when I was 12. (Hard not to, when caissons carrying flag-draped coffins to your small town were right in front of your young eyes.)

To me, party lines obscured themselves in ridiculous adult versions of tit-for tat – no pun intended. (Remember George Carlin and his seven dirty words, including the one that shouldn’t even be on the list?)

I have a long list of possible column themes, some floating around my office like confetti on scraps of paper. When an idea flies into my mind I have to jot it down ... no guarantees of remembering it these days! So, I didn’t have to talk about the circus. But I just had to. 

Not to convince. Not because of anger, disappointment or a sense of betrayal or a sense of loss or which one of them I preferred. Maybe, somewhat; but for me it almost immediately moved from the candidates to the structure. Among my sons and daughters I have contractors, engineers, actors, gardeners, artists, teachers, gourmet cooks and administrators – every one a strategist. In every case, tactics rule

If anything got mangled in this election cycle, to me, it was the very guts and spirit of the intricate machinery of a democratic republic. One expects that some of the fiery blaze of hope and purpose will calm, or even fade -- like a beautiful rose from an ardent lover – when reality takes over. (Again, ask anyone in medicine or law enforcement...) But to throw it all into a wood chipper, call it whole cloth and dare the citizenry to pick up the pieces with grace? Gimme a break...

We are in for another transformative ride; that part is nothing new. I envision an ongoing, upgraded, legitimization of vulgarity – enhanced by repetitive sprints between law, precedent, a disdain for evidence and the continued annoyance with facts. I’d like to be wrong.

When the flashy attempts to obscure the authentic, it’s really just a matter of time. Away we go! 

Zoë Tummillo is a Business & Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Commercial Writer, dba COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS, in private practice since 1974. In addition to Commercial work, she writes “Senior Momentum: A Series of Situations”; “Pieces of My Path”©, essay memoirs of growing up first generation Italian American; and Senior Momentum: Front And Center!©. To contact her: email: