Does everyone in the U.S. need an anger management class?

“How dare you don’t agree with me, you ignorant bastard.”

I’ve seen responses like that so often on Facebook that I seldom get involved in political “discussions.” Looking at this, and many of the protests, some commentators are asking why “everyone” is so angry.

Maybe we’re just flat tired of the ultra-polarized world we’ve suddenly found ourselves in. There seem to be few shares of grey: you either support a candidate or belief system 100% or you’re scum. There’s seldom an alternative. If you’re a moderate, in years gone by, you might have been a peacemaker, one who’s trying to bring together extreme views into a consensus. Now, moderates get beat up online by the extremists on both sides of the political aisle.

We’re told that our silence is consent in so far as nasty issues are concerned. Yet when we speak out, we’re lambasted by a lot of angry people when we don’t buy into one extreme or the other hook, line, and sinker. I see more shades of grey than either/or, but there’s little I can say online to combat those who are 100% for XYZ and those who are 0% against XYZ because all of those people sound like they’re getting their talking points from the same kinds of places. That is, they aren’t speaking for themselves but for a point of view, that’s (apparently) beamed into their minds by a BORG mothership or a PAC or a political party.

It appears to me that a lot of people feel very uncomfortable when the views they’ve had for a lifetime are questioned by others. Quite often, those views were considered mainstream, the kinds of things that “everybody” in the country believed in. Now, people are finding out that the kind of views that might have seemed reasonable in the 1950s aren’t reasonable today. So, they don’t know how to respond other than with anger and profanity.

Some people wonder if all this anger will send the country into another civil war. I don’t think so, though I can see why many people might think that our differences cannot be healed peacefully. In general, I have a live and let live viewpoint. If another person or group is not a real and present danger to you and others, why get upset about it? Yet a fair number of people apparently think that their religion and their value system and their yardstick of right and wrong should be applied to everybody else. I don’t get it.

I have always believed that the tenets of one’s religion apply only to those who subscribe to that religion rather than the public at large. A lot of the anger seems to come from the belief that “whatever my god tells me to do applies to those with other religious beliefs.” I think that’s an arrogant stance. Why do any of us need to control another person based on our own religious beliefs? Why do people fight like hell to impose their religious beliefs on others via state and federal law? Anger often seems to be a result of this kind of thinking.

We seem to have gone past the point where civilized debate is possible. Personally, I think that if a protester or a politician or an activist cannot listen to the opposition, their cause is suspect. That is, they are not sure of their enough of their stance to be civil. Or even human.

If you look at the political speeches of the day, the commentaries about those speeches, and the fallout on social media, you’ll see–I think–that more people want to be aggrieved than want to find unity.









4 thoughts on “Does everyone in the U.S. need an anger management class?

  1. It’s just the same over here. Brexit seems to have honed it. I wonder if it’s because people live so much faster now, have to cram so much in, are so tired all the time, and are in such a rush that they don’t have time to absorb anything other than headlines, which do not make for a reasoned debate. I fear (yes, fear) that it was this mindset that the Brexit champions tapped into 3 years ago, and did so again for the EU elections a fortnight ago. Was it you who reposted that quote from the Nuremberg Trials? When you have millions of people content to get their kneejerk opinions from headlines (which may or may not be ‘fake news’) then it is easy to slide them into extreme opinions that they may not even hold and which are certainly not their natural positions. The effort required to have a reasoned debate is so daunting that they just scream, like babies. If I have to post ‘we live in scary times’ once more this week I am disappearing into a hole in the ground and pulling it in after me … 😦

    1. Brexit has certainly stirred things up, though maybe it is just another symptom. People seem angrier today than they did five years ago, but a lot of issues have come out onto the table in full force from climate change to racism, and there’s not let up. I don’t even know if people bother to read the headlines any more.

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