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Politics

THE POLITICS OF ANGER

Who among us hasn’t done or said something we regret in the heat of anger? Something really dumb or hurtful. If there are any hands raised, just nominate yourself for sainthood and drop out of this conversation. Either that or help us out here, since we mere mortals have been venting our rage in the political arena, where decisions made in anger can often bite us in the ass.

And who can blame us for being angry? The billionaires stole all our money and sold our jobs to foreign nations, there’s a hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico hemorrhaging enough crude oil to fill a ballroom every few minutes, we are fighting two interminable wars in two miserable, insignificant countries that are dragging on and on, sucking American lives and treasure into the black hole of hatred, tribal and sectarian violence, and failed statehood for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our education system, once the gold standard, has slipped badly and is not turning out enough graduates prepared to compete in the modern world. The financial industries that stole all our money are getting away with their crimes,  and our politicians are too spineless to take them down. Our automobile manufacturers were saved from disappearing only by federal government bailouts and the fortuitous timing of Toyota’s massive screw up. People’s homes have lost much of their value, with millions of Americans owing more on their mortgages than their properties are worth.

While all of these problems can be directly linked to 8 years of dictatorship under Shotgun Dick Cheney and his amiable but dimwitted puppet Bush The Younger, they have become President Obama’s problems to solve. Ever since assuming office a year and a half ago, there has been nothing Obama turned his hand to that was not poisoned by the Cheney Administration. The U.S.Treasury and the workers’ bank accounts had been looted when Dictator Cheney gave huge tax breaks to the wealthy and enabled fewer than 1% of American to possess more wealth than the bottom 95% combined.

The regulatory agencies designed to police our industries had been rendered impotent by the Dictator Cheney, and our industries did what any group of humans will do when there is no law, anything they felt like. What our nominally American corporations didn’t feel like doing was paying taxes to America or answering for their crimes against Americans. Potential polluters polluted at will, and financial operatives gambled and stole trillions of dollars of other people’s money. The moron Bush The Younger fiddled with simple sentence structure while Rome burned.

For 8 years war was waged on America from within the halls of government by the Dictator Cheney, who attacked Iraq using falsified evidence, who threw a cinder block to New Orleans while it was drowning, exposed an American spy to settle a minor political score, and even went as far as attempting to dismantle the Bill of Rights. Americans were rightfully angry, so in the 2008 elections the voters stripped all national power from the Republicans and in the process made history by electing a black man to the Presidency.

The only problem was that President Obama, while enjoying a majority in both Houses of Congress, did not come equipped with a magic wand to make all this damage go away overnight. Mr. Obama is a careful and deliberate man by nature, while many Americans were eager for a proactive and brash FDR-style approach to this country’s many problems. Angry people don’t think in the long term and so far very little our new president has done has dramatically improved their lives. These things take time.

But anger does not get along well with patience, so Mr. Obama risks being turned out of office in 2012 by the same anger that swept him into the White House in 2008. The only thing that makes that unlikely is the complete disarray within the Republican Party, which has used its own petulant anger at being tossed aside like an old broken toy to purge its ranks of reasonable people, further ensuring their marginality. The Tea Party people have taken over the GOP, with no ideology or policies beyond their raw anger, and are earnestly ridding the party of anyone with any brains or ethics at all. How that helps them regain power is beside the point.

They were angry and they lashed out, and that was the whole point, the politics of anger. While it may feel pretty good to shout “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!,” that was line from a movie, not a set of solutions to some very real and very pressing problems. Coming up with solutions and policies is President Obama’s job, and luckily, he seems to be the only one who isn’t mad as hell, or at least a person who is mature enough to channel his anger into constructive action.

The proliferation of Cable TV “Political experts” who never held public office isn’t helping the President, or anyone else for that matter. These people are the angriest of all, many of them such completely frivolous and absurd human beings that they border on being living, breathing cartoon characters. Great political movements are hardly ever founded by angry cartoon characters. The last one who managed that was Ronald Reagan, who, like most cartoon characters, did the exact opposite of what he said he would do.

The difference was that Reagan was not angry, just amiable and sort of dopey in an endearing way. So when he railed against “Big Government” and then proceeded to triple its size, screamed about government spending and left trillions in deficits, acted like a tough guy but ordered the Marines to retreat from amateurish terror gangs, his supporters chalked it up as “Ronnie just being Ronnie,” and elevated him to sainthood anyway, hoping that the the mists of time would erase his actual deeds with his empty words.

To the minds of many, that is exactly what happened, and we have a millions of angry fools worshipping at the altar of Saint Ronald the Daft. Ignored is the real Reagan legacy of deregulation, trickle down economics and reversing the upward motion of poor people in society. Facts are very inconvenient when creating a saint, while repeated fabrications are so much more appealing. It’s odd how many people bought into that, so strange that no self-respecting writer of the worst potboiler fiction could make this up.

Even that extremely angry man, Shotgun Dick Cheney, professed his dedication to Saint Ronald. This would-be Great Dictator, a combination of Doctor Strangelove and Yosemite Sam, left no legacy of positive achievement, only failure, corruption and cynicism to all he touched, sort a Biazarro World Midas. Unlike Reagan, however, Cheney is despised and feared, not even beloved by his own family or close aides. That’s what anger buys you every time. Also hatred, intolerance, brutality and fascism. These days Cheney travels around posing as human being, calling people sissies because they won’t torture anyone like the Gestapo, and ridicules Bill Clinton for presiding over an era of peace and prosperity, or as he calls them, “the wasted years.”

If we don’t control our blind anger and channel it into positive action, America will be a long time recovering from the Cheney Dictatorship. There is much work to do. If we can stop calling each other traitors and screaming at one another, we have a chance to do great things. If we are not mature enough to get a handle on it, look for another Dick Cheney to ride our angry asses into the White House and then whip us like rented mules while the Corporate Princes continue to steal the eyes out of our heads. We need to think our way out of our problems, not add to them by lashing out. Let the Politics of Anger go away, and let the door hit it hard in the ass on the way out.

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