Coming out of the COVID years of isolation, the accepted decibel level of social discourse has been significantly raised. You hear the angry shouts, the name calling, the generalized attacks, the unreasonable and selfish demands, and even violent threats and attacks. The United States is far from united. It is fractured, and far too many of its citizens are angry and showing it in ways that strike at the very core of our freedoms and our cultural values and norms.
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” That immortal refrain was yelled by anchorman Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network. It seems that the statement is just as relevant forty-seven years after its release. The only difference is that more people are yelling, and those you may be yelling at are just as likely to be yelling back.
Some are angry and offended by how they are treated while those supposedly offending them are just at livid at their overreaction. Some shout demands for reparations while others swear at anyone even considering giving in to such demands as a new “racism.” If your religion won’t stop calling my behavior a sin, then it’s your faith that is racist and must be rejected or changed. One group demands more police officers; another wants to defund them. Tolerance is no longer enough! You are expected to approve of their lifestyle and their pronouns. Yes, both sides are angry, and you don’t have to look far for explosive examples.
Before being killed by responding officers, Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old female self-identified as a transgender male, fatally shot three students and three adults at the Covenant School in Nashville, TN. More will become known about her motivation in coming weeks, but her mass shooting came after far-left extremists in the area had threatened to injure or kill lawmakers in Tennessee as revenge for the state banning the medical transitioning of minors.
Several now-deleted tweets had suggested that Tennessee legislators should have their addresses released. One tweet claimed, "This is what genocide looks like." Another warned, "These people forcing youth to detransition have names and addresses." Sadly, another threatened the use of a deadly toxin, "You let me know where I can get my hands on ricin then we're in business." Certainly, such angry statements do not always result in deadly actions. But there is no question that in the wrong mental state and with the right weapons, such statements can feed the justification for deadly attacks.
Thankfully, as a result of widespread criticism, the Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN) has agreed to cancel their April 1st “Trans Day of Vengeance” rally in Washington, D.C. They attempted to play victim by claiming that the cancelation was due to "astronomical amounts of hate from the world." After the Nashville school shooting, such a rally and the counter-response would most certainly have racheted up the emotions and anger of all involved.
Those angry at the increase in violence directed at our schools must be rejoicing at Senator Rick Scott’s demand for legislation: “We need to consider an automatic death penalty for school shooters. Life in prison is not enough for the deranged monsters who go into our schools to kill innocent kids & educators.” After the growing number of shootings, parents aren’t just fearful. They are angry and ready to hire armed school security guards and support prompt justice for those who commit such crimes.
On far too many of our campuses, some student groups have shouted down professors and guest speakers they do not agree with. Steven Shaviro, aWayne State University professor, was suspended with pay after posting on Facebook that it is “far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic speaker than it is to shout them down.” He did add that he was not “advocating violating federal and state criminal codes,” but such comments ferment anger and the potential of attacks. Thankfully, the incident was reported to law enforcement agencies for review. Many invited conservative speakers are canceling their speeches rather than risk facing an angry mob.
And now, the coup de gras is added to the fireworks! Former President Donald Trump and leading Republican candidate for 2024 has been indicted by a New York Grand Jury. The result is predictable and adds fuel to the fire. Some will say that it is about time, and others will feel it is a politically motivated travesty that makes them livid.
Stephen Kruiser in his op-ed column summed up the growing anger of many on the right, “After the antics of Bragg’s pet grand jury, I would hope that Trump is in a flamethrower mood and ready to go after the corrupt system with more verve than ever before.” And of course, the aggressive attacks in support of Trump being convicted and sent to jail are leveled from the left. Keith Olbermann considred Trump’s indictment worthy of celebration, “Merry Trumpmas!”
In America today, demonstrating is not enough; we need riots in the street. Dialogue is dismissed. Why talk to people you are learning to hate? Is it no wonder why people are buying guns. People are afraid to go into their crime-ridden cities. They’re angry about what is happening to their country, their states, their local communities! They are mad as hell, and they don’t want to take it anymore. They want change.
Pamela Paul’s column in the New York Times is titled, “The Most Profound Loss on Campus Isn’t Free Speech. It’s Listening.” Pamela is not a conservatives but fears that we may have lost the ability to listen and learn from our “enemies.” She suggests a new perspective in our angry world, “What happens if you assume your political opponent isn’t evil — if you even know that he’s not?” What happens is that you may just learn something, both about your opponent and about yourself.
Pamela provides a worthy challenge. It’s time to tone down the anger and shame aggressive and destructive actions on both sides of our divide. It’s time we learn how to disagree without being quite so angry or disagreeable. We need a little more loving one’s enemies and a lot less flamethrowing!
To tone down your own anger, consider purchasing Dr. Paulson’s newly released ”Joy Comes with the Morning” course today! Get ready to enjoy the 31 short, recorded messages on your computer or smart phone. Each message is designed to expand and enhance your joy-filled faith experience whenever you need or want it. Visit tomeapp.com/joy to start bringing more Christian joy to your morning today. Contact him at email@example.com.