Sunday, October 10, 2010

Anger is an energy

Midterm elections are coming up in a few weeks, and there's no denying that anger is going to play a role.  Though so far, a lot of this anger only seems to be coming from one end of the political spectrum.

I'm not going to get into the reasons for this anger, stated or real.  Partly because if you've bought into the anger you really don't need someone else telling you why you're angry, and if you haven't bought into it, there's plenty of information out there about it already.  And partly because writing about right-wing anger will just make me...angry.

Back in college I attended a lecture held by a professional writer - that is, a guy who one or more times in the past had received actual money in exchange for something he wrote.  It was a mostly unmemorable and unremarkable lecture.  Only one thing has stuck with me:  he gave a warning about writing pornography.  Writing pornography can be very easy, seductively so.  And it can pay very well.  But he warned that once you go down that path, you may find it very difficult to write anything else.

Anger can be like that.  It feels empowering at first, as though by putting on this cloak of flames you actually gain extra strength.  But soon anger becomes all-consuming:  it feeds on itself, and demands greater and greater levels of anger to sustain the same feeling of empowerment, until in the end anger is all you've got left.

I've called on people to get angry before.  Maybe that was wrong.  Maybe that was exactly right.  Maybe if more people had gotten angry then, the problems that are causing so much anger now would never have come into existence.  More likely, the right-wing pundits who are fanning the flames of anger now would simply have found other things to manufacture anger around.

I tried my hand at angry writing once, nearly five and a half years ago.  Right after the start of the second disastrous George W. Bush administration.  Right after the time when the electorate should have heaved the idiot Bush and the criminal scumbag Cheney and all of their cronies and co-conspirators and fellow criminals and their entire Rubberstamp Republican Congress out of office, but instead decided to hand them the keys to the car once again, perhaps hoping that they wouldn't simply drive the country into a wall or off a cliff this time.  The election of 2004 was a huge error made by many of the same people who are so full of anger today.  But back then they weren't angry, I was.  And so I created the Angry Political Blog.  I was amazed I was able to get the site name, but I did.  Now I had it, and it was mine, and nobody else's.  I was going to use it as a place to vent my anger, to rage at the political stupidity I had witnessed and was witnessing.

I wrote one post.

And then I felt the anger gripping me.  I found myself wanting to rip into those who had made the stupid decisions that had led us to this point - literally as well as in writing.  I found it difficult to write anything else.  I telegraphed out a few other posts for Another Monkey while I struggled with what to rant about first on Angry Political Blog.

And then I made the decision to set aside that anger and go on doing what I had been doing all the while.

Maybe that was a mistake.  Maybe if I had run with it I could have made more of a difference.  Perhaps not.  The Republican stranglehold on Congress would be broken in the midterm election in 2006.  And with Barack Obama's election in 2008, the long, difficult work of undoing the damage caused by the George W. Bush administration could start.  It wouldn't be fast, and it wouldn't be easy.  Some of us might have hoped otherwise - even I had hoped for a "sea change," a revolution in attitude catalyzed by the election of Barack Obama.

That didn't happen.  Instead of a bottom-up change, we're seeing incremental top-down change.  It's taking a lot longer than anyone would have wished, with the exception of and largely due to the efforts of Congressional Republicans, who have fought against any meaningful change every step of the way - since any dramatic improvements to the economy, employment, or any other measurable metric of national health would benefit the majority Democrats more than the minority Republicans.  And now the same individuals who have fought against recovery - remember Rush Limbaugh and "I hope he fails" when asked about his hopes for the Obama presidency? - are using the slowness of the recovery as a talking point for increasing voter anger.

Angry right-wing voters are going to go to the polls in November.  Everyone else should be scared - and maybe they should be angry, too.  We fought hard to get to this point, to break the dreamed-of "Permanent Republican Majority" and replace it with a truly American dream.  We fought hard to get rid of the idiots who set this country on a course for disaster, and replace them with people who might actually have a chance of getting us out of this mess.  But the Republicans screwed the national pooch hard, hard enough that it couldn't be unscrewed in a little more than a year and a half.  And because of that, we are now in danger of having Congressional leadership handed back to those very same Republican idiots, or their even more extreme successors who associate themselves with the "Tea Party."  Are you willing to let that happen?

TITLE REFERENCE:  "Rise" by Public Image Ltd.

That wild-eyed young fellow in that video is John Lydon.  You may remember him as Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols.  This video is from 1986.


hedera said...

But - if you had let the anger continue to rule you, you would have destroyed yourself, the guy we know and love. Would that have been worth it, even if you had succeeded??

Anonymous said...


Haven't checked by for a while. That was a nice post.

Slighlty synchronistic I suppose - since I was on a plane from Orlando to Miami last week - and Jeb Bush was riding in first class. No (visual) body guards. He had a very nice suit - black pin stripe - which I coveted.

I suppose if there is enough Team Party anger, Glen B. will become president, and we'll have mandatory education on the topic of left wing conspiracies.

Super G

Anonymous said...

The last presidential election was won due to anger. Proof positive anger causes people to make very poor choices.

D.B. Echo said...

Anonymous 1:37, the last election was won due to the economy, and the assumption that the "other" party would fix things. Also not a valid or logical reason to vote for someone. But the election was also a rejection of John McCain based in part on his demonstration of incredibly poor judgement in the selection of his running mate.

Phil Dirt said...

And 24 years later, John Lydon is a Ron Paul-supporting conservative, which only shows that given enough time, everyone can eventually grow up.