Mass anger could be quelled through political reform
From Porter Ranch to Flint, from Ferguson, Missouri to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, America is in the midst of a gigantic national temper tantrum.
To paraphrase Marlon Brando’s famous line from “The Wild One”: “What’re you mad about, America?”
The rage is palpable. We’re foaming at the mouth over just about everything; from micro-aggressions to trigger warnings, mass shootings to global warming, digital displacement to income inequity, White privilege to Black Lives Matter, anti-vaxxers, Truthers, Birthers, “Feel the Bern”, “Make America Great Again”, HITLER!
It’s exhausting yet we’ve still got 10 months to go before Election Day and it’s unlikely the ugliness will stop there. Hopefully, once we let off enough steam we’ll regain our national composure and a measure of dignity.
In the meantime we’ll continue to trade social media memes designed to inflame, insult or incite while hurling rhetorical Molotov cocktails at each other until passions either cool or we start hurling real Molotov cocktails at each other. It’s happened before.
God knows there are plenty of reasons to be angry. The litany of lies we’ve been subjected to from our so-called leaders is nearly endless. Half-truths, spin and cover-ups are the coin of the realm with institutional indifference now hardened into contempt for the people our institutions were created to serve.
We can fix this one of two ways: via a responsible political process ushering in an era of reform or through violence. I pray we choose the former but given what passes for politics today I fear the latter.
The angry Left has pushed forward Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, as the alternative to the truth-challenged Hillary Clinton. The angry Right is currently divided between a psychologically unsound Donald Trump and the charm-deficient junior senator from Texas, Ted Cruz.
Where have you gone Dwight Eisenhower?
Trump and Sanders supporters don’t seem to care about their candidates’ shortcomings. They are rightly furious at a political system that’s produced mediocrities and incompetents and are determined to teach the two parties a lesson, consequences be damned.
In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, 93-year-old Norman Lear described Trump as the Right’s “raised middle-finger.” The same could be said of Sanders on the Left. It just feels good to flip off the Democratic and Republican leadership for trying to peddle another Bush and Clinton as president. We’re tired of being told who the front-runners are. This time they’re going to have to work for it.
The vise-grip once held by party leaders is broken, another casualty of the Internet. Social media and one-on-one networking is the new force. “Too big to fail?” We’ll see about that. People will only put up with so much.
Nutty Sarah Palin is right about one thing: We’ve gone rogue.
Doug McIntyre’s column appears Sundays. Hear him weekdays 5-10 on AM 790. He can be reached at Doug@KABC.com.