Anger: The American Condition in the 21st Century

I can’t remember a time when the level of anger in America was as high as it is right now.

Sure, there was the Civil War, the Vietnam War, and the 60’s era of Civil Rights battles, but this anger is much different somehow. If you ask any American they will tell you the same thing. 50% of the population is angry at the other 50%. We are a country divided by anger.

Today, there are so many ways to “express yourself” and people are taking advantage of it. People are spewing their anger on social media because there are no limits to what you can post on social media. So anyone can post anything regardless of what it is, or the validity of it. It is the wild west.

On top of that you have the huge media giants that have agendas as well. I will not call them news because they aren’t news and it certainly isn’t journalism. These media outlets are “entertainment” and designed as such in the guise of news organizations. The real danger here is that there is no control over the veracity of their programming. Essentially, broadcasters can say anything they want without any responsibility for being truthful. These media giants control politics as well and now you have politicians using the same language as the media outlets and nobody is talking in detail nor are they talking about issues that really matter. It is always the same stupid stuff that keeps the audience tuned in. People want to see a train crash, and they will watch it a thousand times over and over again. They will follow these reports and the media uses sweeping and broad statements which fuel the flame of outrage.

It is difficult for me to navigate this and I am not sure when or if this insanity will ever depart. The incredible potential of the United States is being run down by this caustic anger and it is an unpleasant place to live because of it. Why? Because it is a pretty good bet that a large percentage of the people you know are angry about the things opposite of your point of view.

Somehow, somewhere, something, somebody is going to have to bring the United States out of this insanity. Otherwise I believe the country will destroy itself.

One thing is for certain, the only true solution is for people to take it upon themselves to solve the anger in themselves.

The first point of healing is to realize that the beginning of anger is when you blame others. Nobody is willing to be angry with themselves because their ego must be supported. People have no problem blaming others for the things they don’t like because they feel they are justified because “I didn’t do it.”

“They did it.” “It’s their fault.” It may be true, but it doesn’t lead anyone away from anger.

There is a moralistic cancer embedded in the American psyche. The principle of “right” and “wrong” is of course written into the message we hear in the church, it is written into the constitution, and it is all tied up together in the social relationships of our communities. “I have the right to…” is the United States’ mantra.

I was reminded of an interesting point in driving that states “Nobody has the right of way” “Everyone is obliged to give right of way.” This is called “defensive driving”. In other words it means that instead of claiming you have right of way, you should defer right of way or allow the other driver/s to allow you the right of way.

This isn’t actually foreign to Americans at all, because generally speaking Americans do this very well in everyday life. Wait your turn, let others go ahead of you, offer your seat, and so on. These things Americans do extremely well. It became very noticeable during my years in Europe because it isn’t generally practiced in Europe to this extent. I can tell an American in Europe at a train station, airport, or in stores by the way they let others go ahead of them. It is an admirable trait, and when waiting at the stop signs here in America the letting the others go first sort of slows things down. It calms things down.

So, maybe the answer is not so much claiming your right to express yourself, but giving the other person the right of way in expressing themselves. This allowance and patience is sorely needed right now, because at the moment, anger is raging.

Many people are offended at BLM, Black Lives Matter so there is a lot of criticism and quite honestly hate thrown that way. The same with things like LGBTQetc, abortion, gun control, or immigration and so on.

These issues will not be solved by the continual berating of the opposition and a call of masses of people standing up and drawing battle lines. That does nothing but divide further and further.

We have to ask “Does our angry reaction to these trigger issues actually do anything to solve them?” and the answer of course is “no”.

The only way for issues to be solved is for people to accept the fact that “freedom” means that you have to agree that not everyone is going to agree with you and that you are obliged to accept that.

Anger is not a form of expression that should be supported by anyone.

In my family growing up it seemed that anger was the deciding factor in conflicts. Whoever was angriest got their way and in a family of strong willed people that wasn’t a pleasant place to be. There was constant tension in the air. This tension is what we are experiencing as a nation and it has got to stop.

I believe the bottom line in all of this is for a spirit of self criticism should be practiced in the United States. If the purple people have been unjust to the green people then it isn’t up to the green people to force the purple people to suddenly “wake up” and treat them right, no, it is the purple people who must take it upon themselves to admit their fault and correct themselves to do what is right.

America must atone for it’s sins, past and present and acknowledge and correct the injustices of the past. America must admit the injustice of slavery, the forcing of native Americans from their land, the mistreatment of minorities since the civil war, and the overt military actions of the past that has led to much death and injury to innocents.

America must repent for it’s sins, and everyone should work hard on their own attitudes to get to a point where we live in cohabitation based on “Giving the Right of Way to Others.”

Freedom doesn’t mean you can do anything you want, it doesn’t mean chaos, it means that it is the responsibility of everyone to “Yield to others and their right to pursue happiness.” Your freedom ends, where the freedoms of others begins.

Unless there is a new spirit of self-criticism, love, allowance, and confession the situation of anger will not change and we will continue to mire down into a nation divided in the soul.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: