Americans are angry! And there are plenty of reasons why they should be.
We are stuck in a nasty series of meaningless wars in which we can inflict enough destructive power to substantially decimate entire nations, but cannot decide who are our allies, or who is the enemy. And we cannot even pretend we are winning. Like an encounter with the tar baby, every time we hit it we get stuck tighter.
The vast middle-class is without any wage increases in a generation, while those at the top continually rake in multi-million dollar windfalls. Millions are in prisons and hundreds of thousands live on our streets. Our roads, schools, bridges and sewers are slowly collapsing. Jobs, and the industries which provided them, are drifting overseas. Oil, gas and coal — the traditional fossil fuels — are less and less to be counted on to provide the appropriate ways to generate the energy we need to operate this complex national machine.
The nation’s control — traditionally in the hands of white males — is giving way to a demographic in which this cohort is increasingly being outvoted and outflanked.
Eight years ago we elected a President who promised to offer remedies to these and other serious problems. But a new group of obstructionists, called the “Tea Party,” got elected to Congress, and practically nothing since has been accomplished. Both are hated for not solving any of these critical problems. It looks like a train wreck from our view down-under. Worst nomination process ever?
“Obama, we want you to solve all of them, but whatever you try we will turn down as soon as we hear about it.”
Any emotional analysis of the nation’s mood will include “angry” at the top of the list. The American people are angry! Anger is not all bad. There are things that don’t get done until some degree of anger is woven into the will to act. When I am angry enough to analyze a problem, and that anger motivates me to take the appropriate steps to act, it can be very helpful. Anger is a legitimate motivator. It may rivet my attention and cause me to both think and feel my way toward a solution to whatever got me riled up in the first place.
But there are occasions when the degree of anger is so overwhelming that I might find myself just flailing — without any thoughtful remedy motivating me to address what has caused the emotional disruption.
So what is America doing with this present angry avalanche? On one hand it has produced the campaign of a democratic socialist. Bernie sees the major problems and has outlined an intelligent way to address most of them. Even if he is nominated and then elected there is no possibility that any of his proposals would make it through a more liberal Congress.
On the other hand, the nation is faced with a wealthy businessman whose every speech is just one more effort to flail away without even understanding — let alone analyzing — the nature of the problems. He is not even popular with many in his party; and while he has offended practically everybody, his mob loves him. Along the way he has capitalized on the undifferentiated anger in the land, even though he hasn’t a clue as how to address any of these national concerns. His followers wallow in his anger — not caring what he says or whom he insults. His background and his rhetoric are not why he is idolized. No matter how ridiculous he continues to become, his followers do not seem to care. They eat up his bodacious hostility.
My guess is that despite the undifferentiated anger now deep in the heart of the American psyche, we are a mature enough, wise enough people that most of us will see through the façade covering the vacuity of the Trump candidacy, and we will not be saddled with a President that neither we nor the rest of the world can respect.