Present Tense

Geez, why so angry?

 

I wrote this well over a year ago, hoping that it was merely a moment in time; that people were scared and angry due to the economy, world events, etc.  I figured that we would all calm down, open our minds and start to LISTEN to other viewpoints, rather than just knee jerk back to our political/philosophical/religiously inspired ‘dogma’. Sadly, we have not.  Why must we fight about EVERY SINGLE ISSUE?  From chicken sandwiches to guns to taxes to politicians wives and on and on and on.  There is an urge to be “right”, when we would be better served seeking seeking “truth” and that crosses party lines. Not only do we disagree, many feel the need to be downright nasty about it.  We are but specks, with a very short visit on this Earth.  Perhaps it would be wise to listen and process other viewpoints.  Honestly, it can’t hurt….

Do you find yourself swinging into the ‘angry’ zone more often than before? We flawed humans tend to run the gamut of emotions from day to day, or even minute to minute, depending on hormones. It’s all part of our wonderful humanity, but I’m wondering about what’s going on with us lately.

Turn on the news, you see angry mobs…everywhere. Not that unusual I guess, since cable news’ bread and butter is conflict, but the anger and hostility aimed at everyone who doesn’t completely share your viewpoints, whether friends, family, co-workers or complete strangers has become distressing and for me, overwhelming.

What’s with all the anger?  I like to pull a good Buddhist quote out of my butt every now and then and here’s one:  “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”.  Anger ain’t healthy for you or for the target of your anger and yet,  anger has become pervasive in everyday discourse.  It seems to have become a requirement in ANY and ALL conversations about current events, politics and even stuff that’s not really that important, like sports or pop culture.

I have a pretty intense personality and am usually game for a good argument.  I’ve been described as angry or hostile or mean over my many years of yapping on the radio, but as I observe modern media, via TV, radio and the internet, I look and sound like “Little Mary Sunshine” compared to not just other media types, but the ‘common folks’ who opine via chat sites and Facebook.

It got so bad recently, that I pretty much gave up on my ‘public persona’ Facebook page;  I couldn’t abide the nastiness that has become the norm.  It’s not even the hostility that got to me, but rather the ignorance and total rejection of any facts or opinions that might contradict or give clarity to the posts.  There seems to be an epidemic of groupthink on both sides of the political spectrum and in my experience, things are never so black and white on major issues and philosophies.  Using anger as your filter can greatly cut down on your understanding of other opinions, people and yes, facts; it can also be very bad for your mental and emotional health.

Maybe my perspective comes from being in the media for so long.  I’ve had to publicly state and defend my opinions for so many years, that I have developed a pretty thick skin.  Most people who enter the fray, mostly on the internet, aren’t used to being publicly challenged or argued with and I notice that they immediately start in with the nasty stuff.  I find that a rational, challenging debate is fun; pissing matches are not.

Perhaps it’s purely the passing of time; we heard it all of our young lives:  “I’m older and wiser than you and one day you’ll understand”.  Everyday that passes does give me a bit more to go on in the wisdom department.  Life is short and once you pass 50, that road ahead looks like a cul-de-sac, rather than the superhighway that was laid out in front of you at 25.  Hot, burning anger is a waste of my time.   Although I do admit to a fairly constant, low-level annoyance with people, I am much more willing to try and see their side, unless they’re trying to shove it forcefully down my throat, while calling me names.

So, lots of you have found a passion or a purpose in anger of late and I’m certainly not in any position to talk you out of it, but try a little tenderness instead, along with some deep breathing before you speak or hit ‘send’. Oh, and think about puppies and hot chocolate chip cookes; that always puts me in a better mood.  Simple, no?

July 28, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , ,

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