Sunday, May 28, 2006

In Defense of Being Angry

One recurring theme I noticed in my recent forays into the right wing blogosphere was a questioning of why the left are so angry. The nature of the blogs posing this question led me to put them into two broad camps: those who genuinely didn't understand the anger and couldn't relate to it and those who were simply being supercilious twats who considered they had the high morals ground. To the second group, the obnoxious pricks who couldn't challenge a diseased weasel for moral or intellectual superiority: fuck you in the neck with a butter knife (this copyright term used with kind permission of Sandra). But because some people genuinely don't seem to understand what engenders this sort of anger, I thought I'd try to explain.

The simplest explanation I can think of is that those in power really ought to understand that if those outside the power group feel (rightly or wrongly) they are being deprived of something important to them, they will get angry. You don't have to agree with the disenfranchised masses about what they deserve but if you can't even see what's driving them you don't score very highly on the perception scale. Not to mention the empathy scale. The scale of anger is often (though not always) in proportion with the perceived offence but the level of anger tends to rise with the passage of time if the causes are not addressed and/or new reasons to be angry are added.

That's a little abstract and I could tie it to concrete issues but what's the point? They are political issues and people on the left and right both have a tendency to toe the political line rather than look at things objectively. The fact that: stealing an election; launching an unjust invasion based on lies; continuing to lie; being apparently unable to face reality; trampling on the right of your own citizens when you get bored with trampling on the rights of other countries; repeatedly breaking the law; applying abhorrent double standards to almost everything imaginable; promoting indiscriminate abduction, torture and murder; wasting the lives of your own soldiers and billions of dollars; not even come close to caring about killing tens of thousands of foreigners; are all seen as forgivable because they're done "your guy"... well, I can't think of any sensible or moral response apart from anger.

You know one thing that really bugs me, apart from all the big things? The denial of past behaviour. The consistently pretending "hey, we were completely supportive when Clinton was president." Clinton got heaps of shit for saying gays should be allowed in the army. Bush gets thousands of soldiers killed simply because of mismanagement and conservatives say ex-generals shouldn't speak out. Clinton gets heaps of shit for admitting he smoked dope. Bush gets a free pass for not admitting that he's a coke head and a drink driver even though everyone knows it's true.

There are times when polite disagreement doesn't cut it.

And I'd like to spend a moment defending anger itself. Anger doesn't have to be bad. Anger doesn't have to mean violence. Properly applied, anger is an effective way to reduce stress. If you can lead a life without stress, bravo! Just don't gloat about it to me or I'll punch you in the face. Wait... I think that's bad anger. I'll punch a punching bag. If you happen to be like 98% of the population and have to deal with stressful situations a daily basis, living in denial will make your stress worse, not better.

It'll build up until you die from a stroke. And isn't venting occasionally more fun than a blood vessel exploding in your brain?

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