There is so much anger in our society and politics today. The Tea Party spews racism and intolerance towards Pres. Obama, Democrats, Progressives and anyone else who don’t agree with them, the GOP/Kochs/Corporations/Wall Street make venomous attacks against unions, teachers, police, the unemployed, liberals, the educated and economic justice. Purist Dems savage Obama for not making all their dreams come true and Obama Purists wail on Democrats who criticize Obama at all, for being so nasty as to attack other Democrats.

Movies about mean spirited people keep coming out (Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, anything with Adam Sandler, etc.) . In commercials and tv shows, being cruel and snide is what’s supposed to make us laugh.

There’s so much hostility out there…doesn’t it just piss you off?!

Imagine if anger could be converted into electrical energy, we’d solve the economic and jobs crisis, the deficit, the energy crisis and make big progress on Climate Change. Then we’d be so pleased with how things are going, it would reduce our anger along with the energy it produced and plunge us into another jobs/ energy/deficit/climate crisis…which would make us so angry, we would produce enough energy to solve all of our problems again. This cycle could repeat indefinitely…in fact…it actually does.

Much of our society’s past has been a series of crises resulting from abuse by the wealthy and powerful, thrust on Americans who are forced to endure suffering then they eventually get angry enough to bring about change through public pressure and the polls. Once some change has been accomplished, the public relaxes and the wealthy and powerful sneak their hands in again to take away the public’s wealth and power…resulting again in crises.

This can be seen throughout American history to one degree or another but just to illustrate, let’s begin by looking back at this era beginning in the 1960’s – 1970’s. Racism caused the misery and deaths of many simply because of the color of their skin. Corporate industry was polluting our air, land and water. Nixon was undermining our democracy with criminal political activity. The Vietnam War was murdering so many young men of that generation for a war that had absolutely nothing to do with our nation’s security. The Establishment (corporate America and conservatives) were at war in a social context with that same younger generation as well as many others who opposed their views.

There was much more going on in that era as well but what happened then was that anger and resentment built up in enough of the public that they projected their will to demand Civil Rights laws, environmental laws, impeachment of a criminal President and laws to help prevent another one (folks back then could never have imagined someone like Bush following later), ending the Vietnam War, etc.

With all of that accomplished or moving forward, the public took a well deserved rest and decided they should treat themselves with a bit of self-indulgence. This fit well into the Reagan Era…where many of the same problems were ushered back in. Deregulation of industries allowing greater pollution of our air, land and water. Corruption in government including criminal activity by the President and his staff via Iran-Contra, unnecessary war in Grenada, a siege on on the younger generation through drug laws, anti-gay attacks (blaming them for AIDS and refusing to prevent its spread), war on the poor, homeless and mentally ill (Reagan slashed funding for mental facilities and was a big contributor to so many being tossed out into the street as homeless…while also defunding homeless shelters and food programs for the poor and homeless). George HW Bush continued all of this and as the country descended deeper into a recession and desperate times, they voted in Clinton.

A focus was turned again on solving our financial and social crises and as we came to the end of the Clinton Era, once again it was time to kick up our feet on the budget surplus and the dot com boom and relax. Then came the sequel (and as most know, sequels are always worse) Bush 2 (“This time there’s no stopping him!”). Once again, deregulation empowered corporations to poison the environment and destroy the nation’s economy. Criminal actions by a President occurred again through spying on Americans and employing torture. An unnecessary war was fought that has no impact on our national security but causes the deaths of  thousands of our young men and possibly more than a million people overall. Anti-gay hatred and laws were promoted, religious prejudice and intolerance rises, racism is exercised openly, economically and socially (with blacks being jailed at a rate many times higher than whites…including the criminals at Goldman Sachs who stole more than all blacks in jail for theft combined).

People once again got angry and brought about change, hence our President Barack Hussein Obama.

The problem this time though is that the destruction that each subsequent GOP Presidency inflicted was cumulative and the crises finally blew such a massive hole in our nation under Bush that one Democratic president, even in two terms, may not be able to fully repair that damage.

Now comes the problem. If the public’s anger at how long it takes for a Democratic President to repair the Republican damage to their lives and the nation, triggers their anger and need for change, as it did in 2010, they obliviously set the gears in motion again for another Republican President to send us far deeper into crises before we’ve ended the previous set of them. In essence, digging a deep hole while already standing in a deep hole…who knows if our country could ever fully climb out of that?

It’s hard to find a time in US history where Americans who are still suffering from long term crises caused primarily by one political party, bring the same party back to power after just four years, a party that not only retains the same philosophies that created the crises but is doubling down on them.

Anger makes me mad for that reason. It is a necessary and valuable emotion that can get you up off the couch and active in changing the way things are but if it’s not channeled solely into motivation and spills into decision making, it can have destructive results.

So if we were to think of ourselves as being like cars, anger is indeed a powerful fuel for us, it can power us to change and accomplish things. However, you don’t drive a car solely by stepping on the gas pedal (as too many voters did last year). You also need to use principles to steer by, reason as your brakes and vision to look down the road at where you’re going as well as checking periodically in the rear view mirror to keep an eye on where you’ve been and what may be coming your way.

So, many things that can be used destructively can also have a constructive use as well. The excess of anger there is out there in the media, politics and society is like a gas nozzle spewing wildly. That nozzle needs to be re-directed into the tank of a vehicle that can take us to where we want to go.

Only then can our anger end up making us happy.

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oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Anger is going to be the dominant theme of the next few decades in America. We are an empire in decline and there is no practical way to reverse that. We can be salved and stroked by those who might promise to soften our landing, but the direction we are heading is our destiny.

We have adjusted to an economy and lifestyle that was built upon Americans consuming 4 -5 times their share of our world’s resources. That was, and is, unsustainable. Had we gone into “protective” mode after the 60’s, instead of deluding ourselves into thinking that we could maintain our living standard while allowing the global capitalists to dilute it with unfair trade, we might have stretched out the time to our reckoning. Of course, we would have missed all those wild rides that we experienced from the resulting “bubble” economy that only burst completely three years ago.

The financial powers in America are just sweeping up the last tidbits of wealth remaining before moving on completely to greener pastures. America has an immense debt to the world without any mechanism to repay that debt. This will very soon be reflected in run a way inflation that will leave even millionaires in the dust as the dollar readjusts to the nation’s “real” worth. Our infrastructure is broken and in disrepair and most of us make our living by servicing each other in some fashion. This is our current reality and will only reverse itself when China and India eventually begin shopping for a source of cheap labor. And the wheel goes around.

jjgravitas
Member
jjgravitas

In regards to anger, it’s high time we began ignoring the emotion and listening only to the message, it there is one. The message is what matters. Do that and you’ll see that the message coming from the Tea Party is as hollow as an empty tea kettle.

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

CL: how about the passage from James 2:14 – 17 – “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

And therein lies the difference between James, who has been called the brother of Jesus, and Paul, who never met nor studied under Jesus while he was alive. James is my favorite book of the Bible. It’s a wonder it made it into the Bible, and no wonder at all that Talibangelicals fail to quote from it.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Wow Adlib I was thinking the same thing but of course you said it much better.

I for one really want to move past all this partisan nonsense. I think the hyperpartisanship in itself is what is destroying this country the most just like Obama said in his 2008 campaign. Of course when the other side’s only tactic is hyperpartisanship you have to fight back but it’s still far from the optimum way to run a country. Worse it makes both sides angry and anger leads to bad decision making. I mean reasonable people would never think it is a good thing to hold the country hostage and not pay our bills.

I for one miss the days when presidents were presidents for all the people and not just special interest groups on both sides.

SueInCa
Member

We are all a bit angry in our own little ways but did anyone notice something peculiar in the last few weeks?

I could be wrong but I hear whisperings of the 2012 general election. First of all I have NEVER heard from Tom “carpetbagger” McClintock and I have gotten 3 emails from him in the past three weeks for his “online” town halls LOL.
The President is all of a sudden talking about the “people”.
The corporate chatter from the politicians is dying down a little and they are talking about us.
Why? Because they need our votes. That chatter is going to get louder in the next few months until they draw us all in and get our help. What would happen if the “People” as one, said no dice. We are not going to the polls, see if you can get elected on your own. I think just one election like that would probably jolt them back to reality. I know it won’t happen but I can contemplate such an activity. It don’t cost me a dime.

SueInCa
Member

When I get down, this one always helps me.

SueInCa
Member

Well okay then, the song is AS by Stevie Wonder

doutngtomss
Member
doutngtomss

This is pervasive…I was j-u-s-t thinking of this scene from “Network” the other day. I Am ANGRY as HELL
and I’m sick of “take’n it”
Sh/T’s only gonna get worse folks! Hate to be a pessimist in our “can do ” empire, but I know too may people who find “things are just fine”, and wouldn’t ever consider “rock’n da” boat!???

Sabreen60
Member
Sabreen60

I care that the President is disrespected. Actually, I am sick and tired of it. From the campaign to the shouting of YOU LIE by Wilson to President Obama who stood on the floor of Congress. This President has been publicly disrespected over and over. Why is it so hard for these so-called media heads to say “President” Obama? No, I have had enough. And evidently so have a lot of other people. The “money bomb” for President Obama surpassed it’s goal, yesterday. I know I gave. In fact, I gave again when Sen. Roberts implied that Pres. Obama needed to take a valium aka “the angry black guy”. I gave again when Cornyn called the President of the United States a demagogue. I read that MSNBC received a ton of emails, calls and tweets. So yes, for many of us this matters.

KQµårk 死神
Member

X2

Khirad
Member

As far as the Halperin incident went, it wasn’t comparable to those others, really. I didn’t even register it when it went down live. The far more disrespectful part was the whole notion that the pieces describe. That he was out of line for calling Congress out. That’s what was galling to me.

That being said, any fundraising that comes out of it is welcomed.

Chernynkaya
Member

Sabreen, I too very much care that the President was disrespected. I think the authors of those posts do too–in fact, they’ve been explaining themselves on Twitter. Their point was, Yes that was very bad, but the worse obscenity was Halperin’s criticism of what and how the president said. Even if Halperin had said, “The President shouldn’t have been so forceful,” Halperin was WRONG. The focus is now on the disrespect instead of the outrageous criticism in the first place. Reeps are sickeningly disrespectful, but MORE than that, their very ideas and policies are the real obscenity, and THAT is what any honest and discerning pudnut should have called out.

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

Here is my motto, expressed in voice by the lovely Patty Griffin: I Don’t Ever Give Up. Whenever we try and pull something off for the good of Afghanistan, and we face the immeasurable hurdles – danger, corruption, incompetence – I remind them: You don’t have to be richer, more powerful or stronger than your enemy. You just have to be smarter. So far, we’ve won. Not the war, but the battles. My belief is the battles will add up one day.

Let the anger fuel you, don’t let it destroy you. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

SueInCa
Member

AB
I admire your spunk and upbeat attitude.

escribacat
Member

AB! What’s the name of that Durango spa you always go to? I’m heading there in August and can’t decide between the Strater Hotel and a hot springs spa.

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

CAT!!! I go to Pagosa Springs; it is one hour from Durango (east). You simply MUST go. We are there 8/7 and 8/8; any chance we can meet? Send me an email; our computer crashed and I lost so many addresses.

I’m also going to Telluride, Mesa Verde and Santa Fe. Will have the Blov and the Alpha Pup in tow….

Khirad
Member

Haven’t been to Mesa Verde in a while. Last time I was in Santa Fe I got so smashed the following day in Albuquerque was not very fun.

escribacat
Member

AB, Just sent you an email but I’m not sure it was the right one!! Check your inbox.

whatsthatsound
Member

Elvis Costello is not angry.

Khirad
Member

jkkFL
Guest

Khirad! You found a video that isn’t a Bollywood Babe Bonanza??!!
Or, did you stumble on this one on accident? 😉

Abbyrose86
Member

I can’t speak for anyone but myself…but I
AM very angry and very bitter. I am angry because “what could be” and :what should be”, isn’t on the table.

I am angry that 46 million of my fellow citizens are living in poverty when there are 10 million living in grandeur.

I am angry that for so many the American dream is nothing more than an illusion…a myth, that they will NEVER have the ability to realize.

I am angry that millions of my fellow citizens are trying to survive on 30-50K a year, and depending on where they live, that can be a very difficult undertaking, due to the costs of living in those areas.

I am angry that corporate execs are making 500 TIMES that of their lowest paid workers, those workers who they NEED to make the company provide it’s product or service, yet are treated like disposable cattle.

I am angry that our nation has broken the social contract with it’s citizens and is moving toward a new age of feudalism.

I am angry that there are children who are being indoctrinated into a corporate, marketing scam of big business that hopes to enshrine them in debt, pharmaceuticals and indentured servitude.

I am angry and I’ve had enough of the bullshit.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I feel bad because you sound so miserable. I also see some hyperbole in your post because you are biased by your anger like we are heading towards feudalism. That’s utter nonsense knowing what feudalism really is. If you only judge life through what you have materially as opposed to what someone else has sure you can be angry or is it envy. But I think that’s a false perception of what’s important in life.

Abbyrose86
Member

Kquark, I think you misunderstood the point of my posts. This isn’t just about ME, as a matter of fact, if YOU really READ the post, you would see it has nothing to do with me at all. But I don’t see life from only my own eyes. I was blessed with the gift of empathy.

How can anyone with a conscience and a sense of decency, walk around and SEE what is so clearly an unstable and disgustingly unfair situation and NOT be angry!

Life is VERY short. I’m 43 now and seriously it feels like just yesterday that I was 20. the years have flown by and during that time, just like everyone I have lived through than my share of difficulties and drama. The stories I could tell. I’ve buried both my parents as well as many loved ones. I’ve known many people who are barely able to survive in our system and who’s life is but a drudgery…and I think it is disgusting. There is too much suffering by too many people.

I’m happy for those if you have not had the opportunity to feel REAL hardship or who have NOT had to chose between healthcare or keeping a roof over their head. Good for them…but I think it disgusting that in a nation so full of resources that so many are living paycheck to paycheck and are one illness, one job loss away from utter chaos. BTW…stress kills. Stress causes many problems both physically and psychologically. Economic trauma is devastating to people and families and to pretend that it’s just materialism is naive.

Come join me at the homeless shelter tomorrow, where I volunteer every Saturday….the problems in our culture are systemic, not the issue of individual irresponsibility or failure.

Perspective is key here, just because some people in a nation have lived one way doesn’t me that others have had the same experiences. Thus it is disingenuous to ASSUME anything about the specific experiences of a great number of people, based on one’s own experiences or lack thereof.

REAL people are REALLY suffering throughout the country and I find that unacceptable. I find it unacceptable that there are people in their 50’s with health issues who are working tedious low paying service jobs, without paid time off…just to survive. Do you honestly think those people are happy??? Hate to break it to you…they aren’t.

There is no reason that those in the top 1% are living like they do, when so many aren’t able to obtain necessary healthcare or who have to rely on charity for food and shelter. It’s disgusting.

Money is a necessity of life in our land. ONE cannot live without financial means and the lack of financial security does lead to a type of serfdom, as it basically leads to an indentured servitude. There are many people who make just over poverty levels working for bad bosses who treat them horrifically and who are unable to quit that horrible job. YOU would be amazed just how many out there live like this everyday, and it take a toll on them, mentally, and physically. How is that NOT like serfdom??

The big multinational corporations are the new nation states and the peon workers of these great enterprises are nothing more than serfs. THE analogy IS accurate whether you believe it or not…I have actually had this conversation with many professors of history, politics and economics and for the most part, those studied individuals too see the similarities in the concepts. Just because most people are blind to it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Feudalism was more than just an agrarian culture it was hierarchical system where those born into a certain caste were there for life. The nobles grew rich off the work of their subjects and for the privilege of working the land and eating, the serfs and working people paid taxes to the elite nobility. There are adequate examples of the similarities to our social and corporate hierarchies today. Just because the terms are different and the concepts are slightly different doesn’t mean the overall system is different.

jkkFL
Guest

You Rock Abby!

Me too- what Abby said! 🙂

SueInCa
Member

I hear you AbbyRose. As long as one child in this country is hungry or homeless, I consider this experiment in Democracy incomplete.

Abbyrose86
Member

I am angry that people have to work on Holidays and have little time off with their families and to have a life…lest they lose their job.

I am angry that so many are just struggling to survive while so many live so high off the hog.

I am angry that so many of my fellow citizens can’t go to the doctor…a co worker of mine, a lady in her 50’s is sick and can’t afford to go to the doctor, her shitty health insurance and low pay make it unaffordable! (BUT she has health insurance…a high deductible one…but she’s insured…even though she only makes 12 bucks an hour). HER husband had the audacity to be human and have a heart attack thus thrusting her at age 45 into the workforce, without any marketable skills…the audacity of her and her husband…(sarcasm).

I am angry that we accept living as we do in this nation…we are very sick nation…mentally sick…psychotic actually…we espouse the ideals of sociopaths and justify such behavior…it’s pathetic!

I can go on and on as to why I AM ANGRY…and as to what bothers ME about our ‘great nation’…but alas if I do, I just might go postal!

Abbyrose86
Member

AND I am MOST angry that I was lied to or mislead.

As a generation X’er I had the misfortune to come of age in the 80’s after having been raised, and taught by those of the ‘great generation’. I was told that being honest, working hard, getting a good education were all the ingredients I needed to have a good life….that I would get a good job, be able to earn enough to have a good life for me and my progeny. I was sold a bill of goods, that was just NOT true.

After 20 years (and having the audacity to have a vagina and not a penis in corporate America)…I found out, I had to sell my soul completely and be without any morals if I wanted to ‘make it big’ and have financial security. Otherwise, I was a liability and dispensable. I learned A LOT in my years in corporate boardrooms and none of it was pretty. It was evil…honesty, integrity and decency are NOT appreciated in our culture…WOW. WOW…I was floored to realize that all I had been taught and all I valued was NOT valued at all by those who have power.

Now, I’m partaking on a political career and finding it’s even worse than the what I thought…

I’m disillusioned and disgusted.

whatsthatsound
Member

Terrific article, cap’n! Anger has both healthy and unhealthy dimensions. Ones that can move us forward, others that keep us stuck where we are, and still others that take us further and further back. Hitler took the anger of the German people and turned it into the most horrific regime in human history.

How could that anger have been channeled differently? Certainly not by Hitler, as he was bloodthirsty and saw himself as the embodiment of that rage and hatred. But even a more benevolent person would have had a very hard job in front of him, trying to make things better in those circumstances.
Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, etc.; these are leaders who turned the expression of anger into positive gains, not just for the people they represented, but for our entire race. Were they less angry than Hitler? Perhaps not; but their anger had a less malignant quality to it.

For me, personally, no form of malignant anger is ever good. Smears, lies, attacks, incitements toward hatred and demonization of those not like us – the results of this kind of anger couldn’t be more predictable.
The GOOD kind of anger is more refined; those who have mastered it and can work with it are the ideal leaders, I feel. We have to listen with a great deal of discernment to hear the voices of such men and women.

SueInCa
Member

Adlib
You surely opened the flood gates with this one. Thanks for having the foresight to write it. I know I got alot of anger out by expressing my thoughts, it was definitely a stress reliever. Thanks.

coveark
Member
coveark

Excellent article. It is interesting to see the problems expressed in such a concise way.

As many do, I knew these things and they piss me off just as they did in the late 60’s and 70’s. I do have to pace that anger. In fact now it has become simply recognizing that we live in a country that I did not know existed…….not the America that I thought it was….and again I learned that years ago too.

It is stunning to feel like you are living in the looney bin surrounded by ignorance, bullheaded blindness and people spouting Bull Shit all of the time.

I used to scare myself as I truly believed in Love and Peace but was also so very pissed off !! Now with the internet you can really get down with the massive info and also disinformation…….used to be you could just shut off the TV.

It is always so strange that the lessons are not learned and passed down through each generation……..of course the kids do not usually listen to the last generation either as they want to be thamselves. Many of the the children of Activists and Hippies became Yuppies and Evangelicals. Your vision is good and your thoughts were certainly well put.

Thanks for the very interesting points made.