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Anger isn’t the answer. It’s time to try reason and rational action

By DOUG THOMPSON - A Capitol Hill Blue Commentary
September 16, 2013

Voter anger: Loud, yes, but is it effective?

Voter anger: Loud, yes, but is it effective?

America heads into an approaching fall in what some consider the autumn of its existence.

Beset by a seemingly unending series of crises, facing yet another possible government shutdown in a budget and debt standoff and an ever-increasing lack of public confidence in its leaders and government, the country may truly be at a crossroads.

President Barack Obama’s public approval rating is just 44 percent while just 41 percent approve, according to the latest numbers from RealClearPolitics.Com.

Over on Capitol Hill, the numbers are even worse, with 73.2 percent of Americans disapproving while just 18.8 approve.

If you ask Americans if things are going well in this nation, 61.2 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction and only 27.4 feel everything is OK.

A last-minute deal involving the Russians appears to have averted a pending crisis in Syria but some feel America got taken for a ride in agreeing to the plan.

An examination of government data by The Associated Press shows the income gap between rich and poor in America is wider now than at any time since they started compiling the stats.  At least 21 percent of Americans earn less than $20,000 a year.

Ask an average America about the state of the nation today and the answers often involve anger or depression.

It gets harder and harder to discuss issues because reasonable debate fails when anger or emotion take over.

It’s easy to get mad and, more often than not, the anger is understandable.  Concern about the future among Americans often dissolves into fear and fear breeds anger.

We see it all the time here at Capitol Hill Blue.  Anger spills over in comments to news stories and columns.  It erupts in debates on our discussion forum, Reader Rant.  When anger enters the discussion, reason takes a hike.

Yet some say anger is the best way for them to make a point.

Anger, for example, drives activist groups like the tea party.  Anger fuels anti-war movements.  Anger often erupts at town meetings held by members of Congress during the August recess.

But several members of Congress claim the anger that dominated the news during town hall meetings a few years ago wasn’t that bad this past August.  Part of the decline came from wary members of Congress who now hold fewer town hall meetings during the August recess.

The tea party this year says it is harder to get attention on Obamacare, their flashpoint for inciting voter anger.

“Members of Congress are hiding,” says Joshua Green of Business Week. “After the 2009 meetings produced a YouTube highlight reel of embarrassing confrontations with outraged constituents, most politicians wised up and stop holding them.  A constant gripe I heard from attendees at Heritage Action rallies was that their congressional representative was making himself or herself scarce.”

Has anger outlived its usefulness as a political tool?

Let’s hope so.  As a writer of commentary, I have been guilty too often of letting my anger get in the way of reason and that lessens the impact of any points that need to be made.

From this point forward, it is my hope to raise reasoned questions while looking for workable solutions to the many problems that confront the nature.

Will it work?

It has to.  Time may be running out.

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3 Responses to Anger isn’t the answer. It’s time to try reason and rational action

  1. beachshoe

    September 16, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I would like to think that there is still time for this country to back away from the precipice. This country is so infected with greed and corruption from so many levels and angles that it will be a daunting task, indeed. America has done it before and, perhaps can do it once more. Possibly a complete house cleaning in federal, state and local government and corporate headquarters (just for starters) is in order. A daunting task indeed.
    CA Leeson

  2. GeriatricMom

    September 17, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Anger and/or fear is an excellent motivator – but a poor excuse for solving problems.

    We need people to actively seek solutions, rather than trying to bring the roof down around our heads if we fail to acknowledge the prescribed insta-solutions as something that might work.

    I have no idea who’s going to come up with the magic words to tap into our problem-solving capabilities, but whomever does I’m going to listen to.

    So far, the “Prescribed Solutions” haven’t come close to convincing me. Maybe we have to learn how to compromise all over again?

    • SDRSr

      September 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      “So far, the “Prescribed Solutions” haven’t come close to convincing me. Maybe we have to learn how to compromise all over again?”

      The key word is “compromise”, if we can make our politicians compromise things will be better.