"It's the level of anger out there that scares the green water out of me. And the fact that angry people can so easily be armed,"
Mary Ellen wrote in the thread following her post, " Violence Against Public Servants."
A few days later, I read a post by an old AOL friend, one whose politics are and have always been diametrically opposite to mine (and yet we somehow managed to "like" each other, as much as cyber-acquaintances are able, anyway…) This normally articulate and introspective person took off on a heated rant against something with which she disagreed (to put it mildly.) I was shocked by her words of rabid fury and complete demonization of the party positioned opposite to her personal ideology. It was angry and it was ugly and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, as if sensing a personal threat.
It was then the thought occurred to me: That's IT. The level of anger. Every day, everywhere, all over America, we are angry. We are goaded into that constant state of agitation, bombarded every minute with images and sound bites spewed forth by our intrepid 24/7/365 media. Many planted by political forces who find it so easy, and so in their best interests, to sow seeds of rage in those media that will bear fruit as rabid, brain-washed soldiers in whatever army of intolerance they choose to recruit. Ask yourself: In whose best interest is it to make sure the general population is ignorant, angry, and armed? I don't have an answer to that question. It seems to me that neither side could feel safe, in that instance.
Anger is poisonous. There are only two possible outlets for such corrosive emotion: It's either released violently upon other beings, or it consumes the host from the inside out. Anger is a self-absorbed, blinding, crippling disease of the soul. Why are we so eager to allow people we don't know and who really have nothing to do with us personally, to inflict a plague of fury on us?
Until we can defuse that anger, until we choose respect and tolerance, generosity and compromise, this nation—this society—is going nowhere. Except, maybe, to hell.
Or it could be we're already there.