On an evening during mid-terms at DePauw, shortly after the movie "Network" premiered, someone got the idea to throw open a window and shout what became fictional newsman Howard Beale's famous rant. "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" People around campus threw open their windows, much as New York City dwellers were depicted in the movie, and joined the rant. That all was quite humorous for college students.
We are 37 years past that time. People seem even more angry. Political races in this country always have had a vicious element to them. This past cycle seemed to ramp up the vicious side.
Why are people so mad? And at whom are people mad? In some instances, the anger is specific to an individual. The President of the United States, as head of State, always is the brunt of resentment by some or a great segment of the American populace. That is an unwritten part of the job description (if there can be such a thing as an "unwritten part" of any job description.) That President Obama's father was African stokes a bit more hostility. I am angry at a Congress that is grid-locked by a minority. In the Senate, a bill cannot be passed without at least 60 votes because of robo-filibusters, in which the mere threat of a filibuster is sufficient to have the effects of the actual thing. Gerrymandering has created a House of Representatives in which a Republican majority exists even though millions more voted for Democratic Party candidates.
Perhaps the anger has simmered since the Vietnam War. Anger existed then, over American troops dying and Vietnamese dying for nothing more than cynical corporate gain. The anger grew with the stagflation of the 1970s. Then the saint of the right-wing, Ronald Reagan, took office. Wealth in this country began to be redistributed---from the hands of many into the hands of the few, then fewer. Factory jobs that once paid well and provided excellent benefits moved overseas. "Then came 9/11..." With 9/11 came an excuse for President George W. Bush to invade Iraq as well as Afghanistan, cause thousands of Americans to die, kill tens of thousands more of other nationalities, and run up American debt so high we see it now as a crisis. His experiment in "trickle-down economics" nearly has bankrupted the country (if, by law, the U.S. can be bankrupted), and still people call for tax cuts as a means of stimulating the economy.
On Saturday's Show, live-streaming at 11 from the Marilene Isaacs Peace Center, we will discuss the anger that seems to run so deep in America today. Len Farber and Bryan Lilienkamp from IndyVanguard will join us. Paul Ogden might stroke out as we discuss these matters.