In the FURIOUS DEBATE edition of Ask A Bastard, I talked about striving to be a better person. Kathleen asked me a question that I will answer next monday. I’ve been thinking about it since Kathleen asked it, and given this morning’s commute, I needed to start blogging about it.
I have no idea where all my anger comes from, but I am angry. I have to force myself to drive defensively (I think I drive passive-aggressively, which is worse than typical aggressive), I shout at the radio (typically in an attempt to come up with a decent one-liner) and I am (occasionally) easily offended. I rant and rail against things that I probably don’t need to–and often without thinking. This is especially true in regards to politics. When I get to talking about politics, and I get angry, I blame those who who are to the right of me.
It is not a good idea for me to have a “liberal knee jerk reaction” as all that does is reinforce negative ideas regarding liberals. While I recognized this trait in college, I was often surrounded by people who were more liberal than I was, so I did not need to reign these attitudes and behaviors in.
Now, in the adult world, I have problem with my personal belief of tolerance and my angry anti-republican rants. I appreciate a certain level of hypocrisy (it comes with being human) but I am worried that my anger is preventing me from understanding “the opposition.”
Here’s the kicker–I never get mad at my clients for what they have done. My kids have done some heart-wrenching things to other people. I hear Bush speak and I get mad. Really Mad. Like yelling at the TV mad, except I yell at the radio. I spend most of my time at work dealing with emotionally draining factors, but I cannot be bothered to understand some of the basic tenets of the Right.
This will not do, so I am trying to change.
I have been trying to channel my anger into researching topics. I’ve also been limiting my angry by writing off folks (specially talking heads) and changing the channel. If people don’t want to debate and learn from each other, I shouldn’t bother listening to them. That is a useless form of anger, one that doesn’t channel as easy.
That being said, I am willing to engage in debate or discussion with folks to the right of me. In fact, if you’re interested, I will engage in a bookswap. I’ll send you Wellstone’s masterpiece if you promise to read it. In turn, I promise to read something with the same tone(intellectual, reasoned, researched) but different spectrum.
I am doing this because I don’t understand Social Conservatism. I understand fiscal responsibility (even though I am having a difficult time practicing myself), and I would count myself as one. I think rehab is more fiscally responsible than prison. I think Head Start and other social service programs are cheaper, and more effective, than Juvenile Justice or Criminal Justice. I’ll be honest–for most of my life I have blown it off as simple wingnuttery. I am trying hard to understand it.
Technorati Tags: Political Rant, politics, Discourse, Rant, Rightwing
I’ve found the root of my anger (usually) comes from fear. When I’m really angry about something, I understand it better by asking “what is it I’m afraid of here?”. Being a parent – there is a lot to be afraid of.
In terms of anger about our society, government in particular, I think there’s a lot to be afraid of.
For me, though, acknowledging the fear has helped. I move closer to activism, to changing what I can as a person. It’s complicated. But I wish you luck.
I know what you mean. You can see my post at RoD.
Anger is something that gets really old and it’s heavy. I finally got my life back. I am so happy. It’s not going to be an easy street — but I will navigate myself back to human kindness and humanity.
I do believe in righteous anger. It’s a good idea to not be in pissed off mode 24/7, though. As with anything that is abused or overdone, it takes the significance away in those cases when it merits it.
People not being angry at things they should be angry makes me angry 😛
Remaining calm with damaged kids from damaged backgrounds who have a compromised capacity for self-examination and rational thought is appropriate.
Getting angry at adults who decline their personal responsibility to think rationally and examine their own beliefs is also appropriate.
A random thought, to be followed by better-organized ones if and when I can make my head cooperate with me:
I saw one of those “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” bumperstickers the other day, and my primary reaction was “Damn, what an *awful* way to live”. “Outrage” to me suggests…well, emotional froth, a way to work yourself up and tell yourself how wonderful and righteous you are for caring. It’s exhausting and doesn’t have any appreciable results.
(As an aside, why is it that only vociferous left-wing people plaster their cars bumper-to-roof with stickers? The most vociferous right-wing stickers I’ve ever seen on a car was seven. *ponders*)
Also? Count your blessings. For a while there, the only thing that could keep Nublet amused on long car trips was Rush Limbaugh. (Who I appreciate as a showman, agree with some of the time, and roll my eyes at rather more.)
I’ve seen cars covered in Right wing stuff–at the same time, I’ve also seen some fairly graphic pro-life bumper stickers on all sorts of cars. It may be a response one where one lives–the more conservative or liberal the town, the more bumper stickers put up by the opposition.
Living with Outrage is not a terrible way to live. I don’t tell myself I am so wonderful or righteous for how I live. I tell myself that there is a lot of work to be done to level the playing field STILL. I count my blessings every day. Every day.
What I find exhausting are the Right Wing Blow Hards, bullies like Hannity, Limbaugh, Malkin and Coulter who scream and lie about basic liberal theory and thought. That is not a way to live–but it sure as hell is away to remove any possibility for discourse.
That all being said, my dad watched a lot of Fox News when he was ill. It kept his flagging heart rate up.
Which, apparently, is why I shouldn’t post before breakfast. Didn’t mean to cause offense.
I wasn’t offended and I don’t mean to come across as the angry liberal. But thus is how we end up defaulting in debate–that the other side us angry or crazy.
Neither of us meant that. I am sorry it came out that way.
I don’t think OPB was offended at all! 😀
Personally, I’m against -all- bumperstickers. The message doesn’t matter, they’re a hideous addition to a fine (or even ugly) vehicle that does nothing but tell the world how “enlightened” or “witty” you are.
As for outrage, I think it all depends on context. If being outraged is your default setting no matter the circumstances; well good luck being an obnoxious ass who will probably die of a heart attack before 50. But there -are- times when outrage is the only appropriate response to a certain state of affairs. Personally, I think the past 8 years merit outrage, and it is particularly outrageous that there isn’t more outrage (holy lack of thesaurus, batman!) out there.
But yeah, death to any and all bumperstickers!
I like bumper sticks.
They entertain me on two hours commutes to work.
I too am against bumper stickers. I just think they are making excuses for not voting and/or forcing what you believe down others throats and/or a vain attempt at humor.
Just my thoughts and I respect others like them.
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I channeled my anger into humor. It forces me to take a step to come up with a creative way to channel the anger, which also diffuses the raw product into something more manageable.
I completely agree that anger as a motivator is fine, and frankly, sometimes someone needs a good ass chewing. The only problem is, from a political standpoint, ass chewing rarely resolves anything. You usually don’t change someone’s mind by screaming at them. They get defensive and scream back, and you wind up with amateur Crossfire.
So, for instance, when my very Republican father starts in on me about Democrat stuff, I usually resort to sarcasm, mixed in with some facts to make the barbs stick a little. It hasn’t changed his mind but it keeps him from feeling like he can just say something as if it’s so.