The New Happy

Happy New Year. Welcome to Presidential Campaign 2012. Angry is the new happy.

The Occupy Wall Street folks are angry at corporations. The Tea Party is angry at the government. The American public is angry at the Muslim world. The Muslim world is angry at the United States. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are angry at everybody–especially Barack Obama. Barack Obama is angry at congress. Democrats are angry at Republicans. Republicans are angry at Democrats and the Tea Party. Children are angry at their parents. Parents are angry at their parents. Liberals are mad at conservatives. Conservatives are mad at liberals. Environmentalists are mad at loggers, miners and oil companies, all of whom are angry at “the tree huggers.” Pro-lifers are angry at abortion rights groups who are angry at everybody who doesn’t agree with them. Evangelical Christians are mad at liberals of all stripes, especially homosexuals who are mad at conservatives both in the Church and in government. Catholics are mad at the hierarchy and each other, depending on which of the above categories into which they also might  fall. Protestants are angry too, mostly at each other (again, based on above politico-social labels) but they suffer generally from lack of a hierarchy. Everybody’s angry at somebody. Most of us are angry at ourselves, and, if we’d only admit it, we’re angry at God too.

“They” are always the enemy.  “They” rarely have real names or faces, and if they do, we mostly make nice and pretend we’re not angry while we’re in their presence–which we try to avoid because “they” cramp our anger.

I don’t really have a solution. I’m too angry for solutions…

…until I work at forgiveness…until I sit down and talk it out with whomever is on the receiving end of my anger. Even then, anger doesn’t disappear immediately.  I’m surprised, even on the best of days, to catch myself indulging old grudges that I thought I’d dealt with years back. More working at forgiveness; more talking it out.

Angry is the new happy…but it doesn’t work. Clearly.

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3 thoughts on “The New Happy

  1. We are taught that we must look for Christ in each other, and clearly that isn’t always easy. Yet if we have humility and realize that we have our own share of faults, then perhaps we can see the light of God in everyone. With God’s grace I believe we can.

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  2. Ric, you may not have intended to write a humorous post, but I thought the layering upon layering of recognizable angers in our shared lives itself exposed the absurdity of it. Not at the real issues, which remain to be grappled with, but at our habit of reactivity itself.

    Really engaging across differences is a challenge, and I find it can be rewarding (if frustrating) in that it can reveal what needs and fears motivate us to the perspectives that take hold in us.

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  3. Thanks for your comments, Chuck and Amy. Yes, Amy, institutionalized anger is certainly absurd, as is so obvious in the American public arena. And yes, Chuck and Amy, Benedict’s way of moving deeper into humility brings us to a far, far better, saner, and happier place.

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