Thursday, April 21, 2011

Some Thoughts on Anger and Betrayal

Yesterday, conservative blogger David Frum opined,
Americans who feel robbed and duped by the series of financial and economic disappointments and disasters from the dot-com bubble onward are boiling with rage against their financial and political leadership. Conservative Americans express that rage in terms learned from talk radio and Fox News. But the fact that these conservative voters express their rage by talking about “debt” and “taxes” does not mean that they want what K Street wants: a Ryan budget that cuts spending on people like them to finance tax cuts for people much richer than them. They are just using familiar words to express a new and unfamiliar emotion of betrayal and resentment.[emphasis mine]
I want to examine the bolded sentence a bit.

First, if these feelings are "new and unfamiliar" what took these conservatives so long?  If they are social conservatives, Republicans have been using them with promises of overturning the Roe decision for decades.  For at least six years of the Bush administration, Republicans controlled all of the levers of government and they delivered nothing.  If these aggrieved people are libertarians, the alleged PATRIOT Act and its assault on civil liberties should have sent them over the edge nearly a decade ago.  The only conservatives who should be happy with the Republicans are the richest 1% represented by K street.

Second, why is the "betrayal and resentment" not being turned on those who betrayed them?  Ron Paul has been a more consistent deficit hawk and spokesperson for civil liberties than most.  Most Republicans who have served 3 or 4 terms in the House or 2 terms in the Senate have drunk deeply from the K Street Kool-Aid.  Yet the conservatives' anger seems to be turned against Democrats.  Let me add here that Democrats bear their share of blame.  The Plainsman wishes a pox on both houses.

Finally, and I admit that I should be a better person but I can't resist, the fact conservatives are expressing their "rage in terms learned from talk radio and Fox News" illustrates that one gets what one pays for.  Both Fox and talk radio choose to appeal to the lowest common denominator and enrage rather than enlighten.  Both reject nuance and logic while spreading propaganda and logical fallacies.

As one who thinks the Hulk is an acceptable role model,  I have nothing against anger.  Anger, however, must be directed at the proper target.  Even the Bible instructs one:  "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26 KJV).  The first step in avoiding sin probably is directing the anger at the proper target.

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