Mad in America
If we are going to make America great again shouldn’t we figure out what is making us so angry? What is really behind all this anger in America? When you ask people it varies a great deal by demographic, age and political party. For the last 8 years, Republicans were angry about Obama, now Democrats are angry with Trump. Politics aside, everyone seems angry about government overreach, greed, school shootings, terrorism in America and unfair practices which put hard working Americans at a disadvantage. The problem with all this anger is no one is willing to listen to one another without a shouting match.
When you unpack the emotional side of anger you realize it’s just a mask. Anger is a way of dealing with a situation without addressing the feelings behind the emotion. Anger covers up fear, jealousy, frustration and feelings of powerlessness from a given situation. Angry people tend to be poor communicators and worse listeners.
One of the key storylines of our political culture has been the American Dream — the sense that if you work hard, you will get ahead. I know a lot of people who have worked hard their entire life, myself included. If I ask my husband what angers him, it is the notion that he has played by the rules, paying taxes and giving back while others don’t play by the same rules. Deep down we feel a sense of struggle for trying to live out our own personal version of the American dream.
When you do a google search you can find angry people in all categories. There are the obvious results, “activists outraged,” or “angry conservatives”. But you may be surprised to find “angry vegans,” who are upset over the owners of a chain of plant-based restaurants who have taken to eating meat—on their own farm and their own time. There is a group blaming coffee called “caffeine rage,” where people are angry about coffee, both not having enough and having too much. And here is a strange one, “Angry Knitters” (something about the U.S. Olympic Committee not letting them use the term “knitters’ Olympics,” but people with large needles that can poke your eyes out should be paid attention to.) If we are looking for a culprit, maybe Starbucks is to blame for providing too much access to caffeine.
As we turn the page on a tumultuous year, let’s all try to unite for a common cause, America the great and powerful nation we call home. I have always found by showing people courtesy, respect and dignity you open the channels of communication. We need open channels if we are going to get things accomplished. There is a quote from Martin Luther King which summarizes our conundrum in a positive way. We are all individuals and we can live, work and play in harmony through respect. “If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry,” Martin Luther King once said. “Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.”
Let us be stirred in a positive way and our senses be sharpened for the common good of all.