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Sonoma County Gazette
Senior Momentum by Zoe Tummillo

Euphoria and Ecstasy

Nov 12, 2018
by Zoë Tummillo, Communications Concepts


They are very close semantic relatives.  Exploring their parameters, for use in the piece I had in mind, was intriguing.  It seems that “euphoria” is to be associated with positivity, while “ecstasy” can run the full gamut of mood and emotional applications.    Despite Webster, Chambers and Oxford, I think that we humans can also experience negative versions of euphoria at times of grief or other negativity, with the same sort of out-of-body detachment we achieve when dopey with giddiness or happiness.  It’s bending the rules, but I guess that’s OK.

All that qualified...I have been thinking about how intensely both of those emotional vehicles have been traversing the air since November 6.   For me, either one of the concepts may bode ill if indulged in to the point of missing the point of it all.  

My recent columns inspired several reader emails – from both political camps – and it was good to know that passion is so alive and well, that it translates into readership, and then, for some, inspires comment.  Which brings me to my current concerns.   After the fact of now having a rebalanced governing body where the responsibility of checks and balance “oversight” can be re-established and applied, I have noticed a certain air of shifting emotions as I listen to both the political veterans and the newly elected.  

Both euphoria and ecstasy – in almost every category of mood and emotion – are on a rampage!    The euphoria of victory and political gains or losses, mixed with outrageous ecstasy can scare the hell out of you!  Part of me loves it and part of me begins that old worry about getting over  ourselves  and the election, and getting to work on the issues that created the results!

Right about now, a lot of us are seeking election recovery via the holiday spirit!  Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holidays of December loom.  A few weeks ago I was in Marisa’s Fantasia,  in Petaluma, with my grand daughter, where many, many trees are decorated with hundreds of ornaments from everywhere, with every theme you could dream up!  Music is playing and everywhere everything is blinking, twirling, flashing or glowing!  Kids with parents in tow could hardly believe their eyes!    At last, an environment that drowned out the pre-election static and chaos!

It’s the specter of January that creeps through all the transitioning...   It’s after the tinsel and bells and food and cinnamon flavored coffee and hot buttered rum have faded that we must look the challenges in the eye.  There is so much to repair, and so little time.  Wannabes will start campaigning for the 2020 contests – and some, no doubt, will not  prioritize those “repairs.”

What repairs?    How about we start with a White House that will learn in a hurry what  “oversight”  means; fixing damaged relations with our allies;  rescuing the  EPA; fixing the healthcare  mess;  cease  validation and glorification of vicious dictators  —  in the name of the USA; replacing arrogance with constraint  (good luck with that one); honoring our  immigration  heritage and embracing its contemporary counterparts; restoring checks and balances;  etc.  OH, yeah, and how about reinstating respect for the Constitution?   (We can start with the First Amendment...) 

I tell myself: beware giddy euphoria and the seduction of ecstasy over gains, or the passions of ecstasy over losses.   We have, again, our balance of power and can re-learn the skills for achieving consensus, if only we will.   Can the elders teach well and the neophytes learn the ropes before insisting they are ready to replace the experienced (and wily) old guard?   Something tells me we are in for a tough test in this window of opportunity!



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