Angry America

Posted: August 11, 2009 in Peace

“There is more anger in America today than at any time I can remember.” – Arlen Specter.

I found today’s quote from Senator Specter interesting on a couple of fronts. First, Specter graduated from law school in 1956, so he remembers well the tumultuous Sixties. Second, Specter has liberal views on some issues and conservative views on others and can’t seem to decide if he’s a Democrat or a Republican, so he can see things from both sides.

So this old man with friends on both sides of the political aisle sees more anger in America today than ever before. That’s scary.

To tell the truth, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to politics/government for a long time now. Studying Jesus a LOT sorta had that effect on me. I don’t put a lot of faith in any particular version of a governmental system any more, and I only find it mildly interesting.

But I have my druthers, and my druthers are on the Left. The Democrats. The much-hated “liberals.” I don’t think they’re the savior of anything, but I choose them consistently over the alternative.

But this health care reform discussion is turning scary, and not because of what passing it might do to our country. I find it scary because of what the reaction is revealing about the state of the country.

I can get that some people oppose healthcare reform. I can get this because I opposed the last couple of wars. I opposed the government’s stance on torture, something I find a lot more terrifying than healthcare reform. Come to think of it, I oppose a lot of things (I’ll save you the list). But I digress. Opposition is a longstanding part of American politics. But furor is scary.

For the first time in a long time, I watched a little bit of “news” coverage today. And I saw furor. (Senator Specter’s past is a lot more reliable than my channel surfing, which is why I thought this topic was worth writing about today.)

I have a good friend who writes under the pseudonym, Urbino. I believe he astutely identified the problem, even though it will sound one-sided to many. Here is what he wrote:

The problem isn’t, then, that a segment of the American public has become distant from and distrustful of government, and believe it capable of madness. It’s that a segment of the American public has become distant from and distrustful of an other (not a typo) segment of the American public, and believe it capable of madness. Conservatives and conservatism have crossed what used to be a sacrosanct line in American politics: they’ve gone from characterizing liberals as “opponents” to characterizing them as “enemies.” Enemies not just of conservatism, but of America. This has been gradually building for the last 20 years, if not longer, and now has come into full, horrific bloom.

President Obama used the word “hope” a lot in his campaign. My hope has now shifted to simply hoping that we can learn to have rational conversations about national issues.

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