I’m not sure why you’re so angry at us. We haven’t been around as long as I assume you have been around.
You’ve been voting a lot longer than any of us. You’ve had a say in how our culture and society and economy and political system have been shaped. The state of affairs Sanders is describing has been evolving over several decades. Surely the great wisdom you possess saw most of this coming, the income inequality, the wars for profit, etc. Could it be that we’re easy to rage against because we’re younger and poorer and more vulnerable than you? Could it be that you should be raging against the person you see in the mirror every morning and the generation you associate with every day, but it’s too hard to face the misdeeds of your age group, so you project blame onto us?
A Millennial commenting online
“… whether you know it or not, you’re offspring are already screwed and it not because of Trump.
Lets be honest here… The kids are 20+ trillion dollars in debt. No middle class left. No economic growth. No jobs. A country infiltrated by illegal aliens. Murder rates skyrocketing. Our infrastructure is decimated. Islamic extremist threaten us daily. Russia and China flexing their military muscle and North Korea and Iran on the verge of nuclear weaponry.
And you’re worried about Trump becoming president.
When I see posts such as yours I think to myself how in the world with all the news sources at everyone finger tips can people be so blind to what is right in front of them. Ignorance is a bigger threat to us than Trump can ever be.”
a white Boomer commenting online
“I had a house: they destroyed it. I had a magazine: they suppressed it. I had ideas, dignity, an ideal: for these I was sent to prison. I had friends: they killed them.”
I am a white guy.
An old white guy.
I don’t loathe being white and I certainly don’t believe simply being white makes one an evil person and it certainly doesn’t increase your odds of being ‘gooder’ or ‘badder’ simply because the color of your skin.
But sometimes, okay, more often than not, I write with some sense of disdain for the older generation of white guys <particularly in business> because we seem to be, or at least becoming, an angry generation.
Angry at the naïve young people.
Angry at some ill-defined establishment <or institution aligned against us>.
Angry at minorities <who appear to be getting a better break than us>.
Angry at women <who used to be more supportive of us>.
Angry at other countries <because, dammit, we are the best and if they improve we don’t look at ‘best’>.
Angry at change.
Angry at no change.
Shit. We are just angry enough at the world we will take selective bits of misinformation and get so angry we start getting angry at a world that just isn’t as bad as we are angry about.
But what is most concerning is that this anger is beginning to extend like a big amorphous blob in every direction. In other words … we are just angry people in an angry world looking for anyone and everywhere to focus our anger.
“I cannot be angry with you. Anger would be a waste of the moments we have and would make us weak in the face of the things yet to do.”
Some of this amorphous blob-like anger is explainable.
It CAN be easy to feel marginalized when looking back at the past.
It can be easy to feel less respected when looking back at the past.
It can be easy to feel like everything was better when looking back at the past.
It can be easy to remember a country that wasn’t obese, a country that did not struggle to educate the young or even a country in which there seemed to be an extreme demand for guns for everyone.
Yeah. I could point out, as an old white guy, what I call the silent minority <because they seem to be REALLY angry>. This silent minority is a slice of white America who has watched from the stagnant sidelines of Life as initiative after initiative is created to ‘right the wrongs’ of the past for women, the LBGT community, the blacks, Asians and … well … anyone non-white.
It may sound disingenuous to suggest this is a legitimate concern when white Americans currently have a majority-minority relationship in the country. But this is a real minority within the majority who has real anger <or maybe strong frustrations> all compounded by some fear/anger mongerers who encourage a sense that “real Americans” are being crowded out.
This anger creates a critique of everyone and everything all threaded through with an unhealthy thread of paranoia driven conjecture driven theories.
That said. It sure does seem like everyone is angry and angry about something or someone.
Well. Okay. The uber rich people aren’t angry … they just don’t care.
But everyone else is.
The aspiring uber rich people are angry at the ‘lazy entitled lower income’ who want money they haven’t earned.
The middle <& going down> income are people angry at everyone.
The lower middle <who are probably hard working & pragmatic but have always had hope to be & do better> people are angry at the aspiring uber & uber.
The lower income people are just angry <because while they don’t see the poor social mobility numbers that I do which state that America is not the land of opportunity … they already know that if they are born lower income they will most likely live & die in lower income>.
And all incomes people are angry at government.
Heck. People are angry at work.
They don’t feel secure in their jobs on top of they are losing hope they will have opportunities to move up on top of the fact it sometimes seems like charisma <and what is being called ‘instincts’> is being valued more than actually knowing what to do <and rational logical thinking>. Therefore those with ability <or the ability to enhance their ability> but don’t meet the charisma criteria <gift of gab, appearance, etc.> or don’t value the charisma thing themselves <they just want to get shit done> … lose hope. And get angry.
In addition. We older folk feel some anger as it seems like the workplace is outplacing us, and our skills, faster than ever before. Workplace generation gaps used to pit older veterans against young rookies but now it is a weird digital driven world, where thinking and deductive skills seem to have less value, and generation gaps in the workplace give a lot of people the sense that they are falling behind and must struggle to avoid being left out.
People are angry at home.
Home values <most homes major investment> struggle. There is uncertainty with the economy on top of uncertainty with time … people work hard to manage time and yet there never seems to be enough of it. We are angry about lack of money, lack of time and lack of perceived control over our own Life.
People are angry because our hope is being fucked with <hope for a better life & hope for better fairness>.
People are happy in life when they think it’s fair … or they get a fair chance. “I don’t need to get to the top … or be the best … or even get the most … I just want to know that I had the opportunity to do so IF I had really been the best or the top or deserved the most.” Most of us realize we are not ‘the best’ or the ‘cream of the crop’ … we are just average Joes & Joettes <everyday schmucks>.
And you know what? Most people, like me, are not angry about being an everyday schmuck <we are okay with it> but we do want to feel like that if by some miracle we were the best, if but for one critical moment, that we would get the opportunity to get what the best get.
Alternatively … if we see few glimpses of opportunity … well … we get angry.
This may be unrealistic <because it is just a ‘what if’ scenario>? But opportunity & hope are fickle funny things. And pretty valuable to us average everyday schmucks.
People are angry at Life.
While Life has always seemed to never miss an opportunity to screw with you … at least in the past it seemed like Life was fair <it took away and gave>.
People have a larger sense of anger.
This is more about a situation in which they feel like they have little or no control over and cannot do anything about. This creates an anger focus in that we start looking for someone and anyone to blame for whatever it is that is making us angry <I would argue the foundation of all his anger is that we are having our hopes and dreams screwed with>.
People are angry because optimism seems to be in the purview of only the naive fools.
We get angry because optimism is a conscious belief … almost an ideology if you elect to be. It has a tangible cognitive attachment to it … almost an expectation of what will be. if we perceive someone placing obstacles in between our optimistic thinking and the tangible cognitive attachment … well … we get fucking angry.
People are angry as they teeter between an anger that we are currently faced with the tragic ongoing horror show of President Trump ‘as a cut price Mussolini and demigod of the intellectually challenged’ and an anger that President Trump, the self-proclaimed change agent, has become mired in his own self proclaimed swamp.
People are angry that the US now consists of a shitload of small towns with shuttered shops, high unemployment in selective geography, low wages, increasing dependency on government support, free food, soup kitchens. Fifty million below the poverty line. Tens of millions without health insurance and those with coverage, struggling to pay their premiums … and 50% of Americans cannot even afford a vacation.
People are angry that the shining light of democracy is quickly taking on the appearance of a kind of banana republic … or a well developed “Somalia with guns, hamburgers, obesity and better drainage.”
As for me? While I was not a huge Clinton fan I get a little angry that a Hillary Clinton message grounded in “love, togetherness and kindness” was trumped by some asshat talking about “destruction, despair and winning is all that matters” — an asshat who publicly stated at a podium in front of a crowd of cheering people that he had no idea what Clinton meant by wanting to make America whole again.
All that said.
We are an angry people in an angry world.
Anger sometimes makes us cling to obvious untruths rather than face the truth — about ourselves, about society, about reality — and therefore we ignore the real truths which would lead to the well needed fundamental difficult changes necessary to diminish our anger.
Personally, I believe 99% of anger is wasted energy.
However. On occasion, anger, if causing some self-refection, can create a sense of reflective responsibility, i.e., what have I done to create his environment of anger? Is there is a real issue that has been raised … and needs to be addressed?
We are an angry group these days and, yet, we seem to remain at least minimally functional. The term “new normal” or “normalizing the current attitude” gets thrown around a lot these days. So much so that it just seems normal <or maybe we just cannot define abnormal well enough to deal with it>. And that is what concerns me as I reflect as an old white guy — functioning in an angry world as the new normal. We have mastered functional anger.
Look. People have legitimate reason to be angry, but we also have legitimate reasons to assume some personal responsibility for the legitimate parts as well as legitimate fundamental changes to solve our legitimate anger.
I will end this by suggesting anger is most often driven by a clash of ideas — even if you want to argue there is rampant ignorance <you can still have ideas even if you are ignorant>. A country is always wracked by conflict where the discussion can be raucous, or whispered, at different times in history, but it resides in all times nonetheless.
I would point out America is constantly morphing. The clash of ideas is actually what makes America great. Its lack of simplicity is what makes it great. Therefore it is actually the constant conflict that makes it great.
Think of the country as a number of tectonic plates constantly shifting and crashing into each other with earthquakes and trembles and ultimately soaring mountain ranges … and sinking islands. Those tectonic plates are the fractured sections of class, culture, race, income levels, social status, generational norms, educational attainment and, well, even individual state identity.
But possibly the largest tectonic civilization plates are what was, what is & what will be. The tectonic plates of time and everything that resides upon them … the mountain ranges of attitudes & desires and the valleys of “what I have and what I believe is mine to keep” <the latter can be material or mental>.
Anger is only good if it creates some change. I worry that we are, well, just angry and not using that anger for anything other than just being angry. We should admit to our anger, admit it is an angry world, and we should be using this anger to solve the anger.