Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Electoral Anger

Anger Controlls Him

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One can only hope that the arrival, at last, of voting day and of therapeutic release through balloting, may have broken the fever of too many months of extreme emotion. But such emotion must be seen for what it was–and wasn’t.

We were first told that the electorate was seized by anger, and I had asserted in this space that such is an unstable emotion. That is not entirely true, since anger has better uses than what is properly hostility–a more destructive form of aggression.

When the Town Hall meetings across America turned virulent, then violent, persons of low political motives hoped to harness such hysteria for their own purposes and were heard to tell the media, “W-e-l-l, we can understand why they are angry…” thereby authorizing dangerous emotions as a means of undermining our government.

In time, right wing “anger” was deemed justifiable, especially when such ire was hard to find among liberal groups, who were mainly caught off guard by the foment. This in turn morphed into the notion that persons of saner disposition should be fearful of those who were intemperate.

Indeed, some of them were, to the point of apathy towards better candidates and, at last, their absence from the most sacred act and most venerable shrine a free people: that of the ballot and the ballot box.

Shame on those who fled this responsibility. We are fortunate that the outcome was not worse, though enough damage was done to bring regret on us all by the year 2012, at which time we must endeavor to correct it. But may we never again be held hostage to unreasonable people, their rhetoric and behavior.

I have also said that I wish this “educated” generation (if such it may be called), would read a damn book once in a while since their graduations. Apparently they got merely what they needed to pursue careers but neglected to cultivate character–or as the truism goes: how to make a living but not how to make a life.

One need not major in psychology but should have been exposed to it as a field of knowledge. It is known, e.g., that certain kinds of treatment foster aggression, as in the abuse of the very young. The resulting anger is a form of adapting, hence not necessarily bad but as an expression of power that may lead for example to assertiveness–a word often used by and about women.

But what we saw among those Americans behaving badly was unjustified. The Tea Party, as we know, was a manifestation of their supposed anger. Yet surveys showed that they were among the most unaffected by the economic climate. Indeed, they had both the time and means to spend countless hours in travel and on the internet, not to mention in demonstrations. They and other citizens also continued to buy expensive vehicles and endless series of communication equipment, undeterred by successive service contracts, new gadgets and other expenditures required.

In time, researchers will see more clearly what was upsetting these people: change. This is no longer a world any of us can recognize. But we need to adapt, not indulge in destructive options that put at risk our republic and its democracy.

Anger is one thing, hostility is another and the latter was what we saw in the right-wingnut/Tea Party phenom–an aggression that got out of hand, egged on by cynical politicians who first thought the mayhem to be useful but now have to deal with the little band of Flying Monkeys whom some voters, in their infinite folly, released from their cages.

Anger generally is a temporary response. Hostility is more lasting. We are all angry at certain times, but those we carelessly call “angry people” are more properly hostile, for it consumes their relations with society around them and is not something easily gotten rid of.

This is why Barney Frank’s post-election eruption is not the same. He is not continuously angry but certainly was mad at circumstances that threatened to undo all he had worked for through thick and thin, and which cannot suffer a Congress full of boneheads to lead us through the crisis. We know Barney will not be angry tomorrow and the next day and through the next election cycle. I venture to say that Tea Partiers will.

But to say that town hall disrupters and Tea Party candidates who attacked the Constitution by their ignorance and misinterpretation of it were justified in their “anger,” is to misunderstand who was who, and where they were coming from. Their prodding by Fox News exacerbated the destructiveness of the movement, which is another story–one of a “news source” far removed from journalistic principles and ethics, and playing a segment of society like a fiddle string for its own agenda.

I have thought to peruse Dante’s Inferno for mention of Fox, but to now have avoided doing so for fear of actually finding them there.

4 Responses to “Electoral Anger”

  1. I worked my tail off to vote out my Congressman along with a good many Tea Party folks…We succeeded against a Democrat far better funded than our guy…We’re stupid. We’re not evil. We just don’t agree with your politics.

  2. I am proud to say our philosophy major, college graduate grandson has found life; however, he and his wife are struggling to make a living. But they will make this world a better place. May more young people find this peace and these values.

  3. I don’t understand what happened to the young educated voters. I do not know if they gave up on the change they helped bring about or if the effort they made a couple of years ago was simply a period of excitement for them that no longer holds their attention. I still do not understand what the thinking voter who has a memory was angry about. I am still angry but I got that way when we attacked Iraq.

    • It appears the predecessor to the Tea Party was the Know-Nothings. Both were hostile, against some of the same things, and considered themselves the real patriots. It is also another case in which we are not informed by our own history. Check it out.

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