You hear a lot of words used to describe the mood of America today: Wary, apprehensive, nervous, pessimistic, cautious, etc. Another word says it best: Angry.
Americans are angry: Conservative Americans, Liberal Americans, Democrats, Republicans, loony left-wingers, rabid right-wingers. Young, old, male, female, heterosexual, homosexual: They all have one thing in common – they’re pissed.
Any reasonable person can’t help but get angry when they look at what’s happening to them. You need a second mortgage to buy a tank of gas, Americans die in a war that polls say a majority of us do not support, we don’t have confidence in our leaders and every piece of legislation that comes out of Congress seems to create more problems than it solves.
Road rage incidents increase daily across the country and police report serious injuries or death occur far too often from the anger that spills out of such encounters. A popular baseball player will sit out 20 games and pay a hefty fine for getting into a fight with fans. Brawls break out at sporting events.
The Vice President of the United States tells a Senator to “fuck off.” A senior administration official tries to get even with a critic of the President by leaking the name of his wife – a CIA operative – to the media.
Polls say most Americans believe the President lied to gain approval for the war in Iraq and also believe the majority of members of Congress are corrupt and don’t serve their constituents. They don’t believe what they read in newspapers or see on the evening news. Most say they turn to the Internet for news, which is ironic since the ‘Net is the source for most incorrect news, biased coverage and urban legends.
Congress gridlocks over the simplest pieces of legislation, special interest groups flood the airwaves with angry advocacy ads that are mostly lies or twist the facts to make a non-existent case. Political rhetoric is all-to-often filled with hate and partisan bile.
Most couples with young children worry that they won’t have enough money to send their children to college, which may well be true, and that Social Security will be bankrupt long before they retire, which is even more likely to be true.
Americans today don’t feel good about their country, about their leaders or about their future.
Our leaders have failed us because they have forgotten that their first duty is to serve the country, not their party or their personal political agendas. Too many Americans have forgotten that as well, choosing to blindly support a specific political party or philosophical agenda without thinking of the effect such support might have on their country, their way of life or their future.
Both sides hypocritically condemn actions of their opponents while condoning the same actions by members of their own party or philosophical group. Both sides strike out angrily when criticized but then don’t hesitate to level the same hyperbole towards the other side when it suits their purposes.
Yes, we’re angry, but the anger will only get worse as long as partisanship controls our lives, drives our decisions and defines our government. We cannot, and will not, control our anger until we stop thinking confrontationally as Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals, right or left and start working together as Americans.
Angry people always look for someone to blame for the anger. Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats. Independents blame both. But, in a democratic republic, the ultimate responsibility falls on the people. In the end, the only people who can change things are you, me and the rest of the angry masses.
First, we all have to accept the blame for what’s happened to this country. Then we have to work together to resolve our anger and get to the more important job of fixing what’s wrong.
Don’t get mad. Don’t get even. Instead, let’s get together and get results.