There has come to be a palpable level of anger about us in too many ways. You can sense the anger, almost viscerally feel the anger. In times past this anger seemed to be present in certain discussions about religion. People of one faith were very certain theirs was the only real faith and the rest were simply knock-offs whose members were going nowhere after this life. It seems that we have either learned how to deal with our religious differences, are multi-tasking or we have found other channels for our anger.
The political arena is now where religion once was in that it is the center of palpable anger in much of our society. Watch a day of congressional debate and there is too often that feeling one needs to wash thoroughly before touching food at the dinner table. Be honest. How often do you wish you could punch that guy or gal in the mouth as you watch what passes for political debate? Republicans have their favorite Democrats whom they besmirch, and Dems have their favorite Republicans for that purpose, as well. Independents, since there are not many and those who are, have so far been less threatening to our favorite party, seem to be outsiders in this situation.
Our political feelings have too often come down to personal levels. We are careful if we’re wise enough to understand the need, to be aware of all those present before we engage in conversation that is the slightest bit political. Such discussions have been made taboo in certain instances, and for good reason, since there are things other than politics that warrant discussion that won’t likely be so divisive as politics can be. We even get riled up over a Packers vs. Bears conversation in some instances, but that, for the most part, is not quite as problematic as the political rifts.
We have been rewarded with political differences given the election of President Trump at the expense of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Television is full of the debate shots that remind us of our differences in this arena. I suspect some of that anger boils over into other aspects of our daily lives. It is difficult to be angry but only in the proper settings…whatever those are for such things. I know there are families torn by politically-driven anger. There are places of employment where that disagreement occurs and subsequently poisons the workplace to the detriment of all.
It seems we have gotten to that place where it is time to develop our skills associated with friendly disagreement. That must begin with us individually. If we steel ourselves to NOT taking the bait when it is waved in front of us, we will find that, while we might be anguishing internally, we can avoid arguments that would potentially have damaged that relationship. If we are fortunate, we might have that really good and understanding friend with whom we can banter without arousing feelings of anger on either side.
There might, in fact, be a “short-fuse syndrome” all across this great country. We see demonstrations we never used to see. We are exposed to displays of anger that were never before seen in public. We are party to having been advised such things as politics are off-limits for discussion in various places.
Some of this is simply caused by ignorance, either willing or unintentional. Some of this is caused by organizers that are paid for creating such situations.
We polarize quickly given the opportunity. We vocalize that polarization even more quickly dependent upon the people involved. I have good friends with whom I can banter knowing I can aggravate them and from whom I expect a decent comeback. We don’t carry anger home with us following the friendly jousting. I consider that to be healthy and I know I enjoy it and suspect they do as well since we each receive our share of verbal punches to the nose and walk away with smiling faces anxious for the next get-together.
There is an almost vicious anger today in national politics and in some instances in state politics, however. I suspect much of that is fomented by paid disrupters. We know that recent political meetings where voters can gather to express concerns, ask questions and state personal positions have been intentionally infiltrated by opposition players. Sometimes those players are on a payroll; other times they are wannabe’s acting out what they have seen on local news reports.
The politician who is targeted plays to this by becoming defensive, as any of us would, and thus fueling the anger in the room to his or her personal detriment. This is a new level of dirty politics, and I fear too many of us are too ill-informed to see it for what it is. But it is working if you note news reports. For a reporter, this stuff is too juicy to pass over.
So long as this tactic works, it will be on the menu for political meetings. The people who are engaged in this intentional baiting are, in my book, the lowest of the low. They may be unscrupulous or in need of money or both, but they are still the lowest of the low to defile our political process as it is being defiled. Too often the politician takes umbrage and falls right into the trap being set for him or her.
I know people who say they can never talk with their elected representative and I lament that the current climate is only going to make that complaint louder. Is this a product of Donald Trump? I don’t think so. I believe it is a product of failed Democrat programs that have cost their members their offices, and this is the way they see to turn that record around. They apparently are convinced these dirty tricks take precedence over good policies of which they are apparently bereft.
A palpable anger indeed.