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Talking about anger

Although this video of activist Greta Christina is primarily about atheism, this post is not really about atheism.  She gets the “Why are you so angry?” question from religious people all the time.  It’s a trick question, really, because it’s not like she’s a raving lunatic jumping up and down screaming about the religious right’s war on Solstice or anything.  It’s more like *anything* that remotely in the teeny tiniest way calls into question the believer’s faith in the existence of god is deliberately misinterpreted as an aggressive act.

But what I like about Greta Christina’s talk the most is that what she says about how to use anger can- and MUST- be adopted by the reawakened feminist movement.

Smart lady.  The best moment comes at about the 20:50 minute mark.  Priceless.

Friday: Be very afraid?

Last night on Conflucians Say, we discussed anger and why it’s sometimes a very useful emotion.  You have a right to be angry if someone has abused you or has done something untrustworthy.  Keeping anger inside or giving in to pressure that says you shouldn’t get angry because it isn’t polite can lead to frustration, depression, health problems and passivity.  Healthy organisms with good survival instincts get angry and do something about it when they are treated badly.

So, why didn’t we get really angry after 9/11?

Because if there was ever a time to get really overwrought, sharpen those pitchforks and march to DC to demand answers and George W. Bush’s criminal ass out of the WH, it was immediately after 9/11.  Terrorism might not be entirely preventable and let’s face it, the US was past due for someone to strike us over something, but there was plenty of evidence that the people in charge *knew* 9/11 was coming and they did nothing to stop it.  Not only that but some of us believe they let it happen on purpose to usher in their brave new world of unfettered capitalism shock and awe.  Maybe they didn’t think it would be so spectacular but the odd passivity of the administration coupled with weird coincidences (military jets on exercise that day?  Really?), can make even perfectly sane people reach for the Reynold’s Wrap.

So, why didn’t we storm the castle and toss the inhabitants into the moat?  I think it was because of fear.  Many of us were scared out of our wits, a situation that was exaccerbated by the introduction of the terrorism alert system.  We lived in a state of code red for years.  And every time the fear level subsided a little and voters started to ask questions, the director of Homeland Security would up the red end of the spectrum.  A little jolt of fear does wonders for keeping the populace in line.

I’m bringing this up because the news about the economy is grim.  It’s very serious.  We didn’t live through the Great Depression but we can read all about it and consult our grandparents, if they’re still around.  Our 401Ks are depleted, our jobs are disappearing, our way of life is going the way of the dinosaur, or so it seems.  It’s very frightening.  And now there are people at various websites scaring the pants off of us with even more dire scenarios.  Ian Bremer of the Eurasia Group gave an apolcalyptic scenario on Planet Money on Wednesday where he basically said that the little people, and by this Oh Best Beloved, he meant *us*, do not have the luxury of being angry about the bonuses.  We should be worried about our own subsistence and meeting the basic needs of food and shelter.

Oh, really?

Fear is also a useful emotion.  If can provoke the fight or flight mechanism.  But it can also short circuit the ability to reason.  It makes us vulnerable to emotional manipulation.  It can make even normally sane people do crazy things, like re-electing the bastard that got us into the mess in the first place.  So, let’s assume that the people who are suddenly worried about economic Armageddon are being honest.  What is the logical thing to do?  Preparation is everything.  Don’t take on new debt right now.  Liquidate some assets so you have a cushion in case you get laid off.  Start making a plan B in case the worst happens.  Start a vegetable garden.  Run for public office.  Contact your congress critter and let them know you’re how you feel.  Turn off the cable news idiots. Pay attention to signs in your environment as to how the wind is blowing.

But for gawd’s sakes, don’t let anyone tell you that you haven’t got the luxury to be angry.  Feel the rage over what the laissez faire capitalists have done.  Be frothing mad over the way that the last administration and the current one have allowed the greedy bastards to do whatever they want without any kind of regulation.  Now that we know what they are up to, what is keeping the Obama administration from reining them in?  Even now, AIG is funneling, tunneling, billions of dollars to Goldman Sachs and nothing is being done about it.  The bankers get away with murder and are never forced to take a haircut while union workers in Detroit have to give up their compensation packages and Obama introduces the concept of merit pay for teachers.  Why is it that the people at the top are NEVER held accountable? We are talking about the siphoning away of billions and billions of our hard earned money.  Screw David Broder and the Village idiots he rode in on, we are frakking angry and we’re going to stay that way.

Now, short of violence, vandalism  and death threats, go forth and get angry.  The times require it.

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