June 25, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013
There is a lot of rage out there, here and everywhere. No longer just a term we use for our fellow drivers who cut us off (Road Rage), No, being “outraged” is well, all the rage these days.
And if you aren’t outraged by all this rage, if you aren’t perpetually in a state of being offended, well, my friend, the outrageousness of your apparent equanimity bothers me. No, that’s not quite the emotion I am supposed to feel…outraged (whew), there it is.
I’m outraged. And apparently, I have just joined a really huge club.
You see, we, Americans are apparently one big, disharmonious, dysfunctional and mostly outraged group.
In just the past two weeks, there have been headlines and mass media reporting of actual “outrage” over;
-Outraged Jack-in-the-Box customer pulls a gun on drive-up window server who “cheated me” out of one chicken nugget.
-Outraged step-father violently pins child who accepted Fathers Day card from “real dad.”
-Outraged over Senate healthcare bill, actor Mickey Rourke renews his “pledge” to beat president Trump with a “God D&%$ baseball bat.”
-Outraged golf club members say Trump committed “unforgivable sin” of driving his golf cart onto the course green.
-Outraged Antifa leader calls for “bloodshed to all fascists.”
-Outraged White House press corps “livid and outraged” over increase of off-camera briefings.
-Outraged man in Florida kills clerk who gave him wrong lottery ticket form to play.
-Outraged that she was called black and not biracial, woman beats neighbor with a pipe.
-Outraged Nancy Pelosi calls Trump’s proposal to make immigrants wait 5 years for full healthcare benefits “evil, mean and unspeakably immoral.”
-Outraged Illinois man kills pizza delivery kid who rang his doorbell by mistake, interrupted his television time.
-Outraged couple kills neighbor who deflated their ball that fell into her rose garden.
-Outraged over world news, man rams bicyclist on road with van to “blow off steam.”
You see friends, if you aren’t currently outraged about something then you just don’t belong now do you?
But herein lies the real problem;
If, we, as a people, have become a nation that is constantly outraged over everything then by definition we are not at all.
Put another way, if everything causes us rage then nothing does.
I wrote a recent “Daily Growl” on the need for leaders on both sides of the political aisle to dial the overheated political rhetoric down. Way down. Especially in the wake of the Arlington, VA shooting what we need is more conciliatory words and less words and phrases that immediately escalate every emotional reaction from “0 to outraged” with nothing in between.
And choosing to not be “outraged” over everything and choosing to not be “offended” by everything is a choice that goes a long way to dissipating the rage in the room and maybe, just maybe, avoiding the apparent need to “blow off steam” by killing innocent people.
There are certainly a whole lot of events daily that can impact our moods and our actions, positively and certainly, negatively.
For example, I do not know Otto Warmbier personally but his story and his death at such a young age by the hands of his N. Korean captors is to me, tragic. I hope we learn and at least in the short-run simply not allow any such student groups to visit that prison-camp of a country under any circumstance, and for any reason.
But I am going to choose to not be outraged because I find for me at least, when I am outraged, truly and furiously outraged, I simply am not in a state of mind that helps me be creative, caring, problem-solving and smart.
Sure, sometimes, in real life or death situations, being outraged helps us take the kind of almost primitive action to survive. Kind of like when our ancestors had to run or fight real saber tooth tigers.
But today? In an age when virtually everyone carries a gun or has rapid access to a weapon?
Is our national and collective “outrage” helping us all solve our collective problems and find answers to the very real threats we all share in needing to confront constructively? Or is our rage, real or manufactured simply driving us to make a lot of really stupid, tragic and regrettable decisions?
Therapists and counselors tell us that constantly being in a state of “rage” can be harmful and can cause us long-term mental and physical ailments.
Geez, who needs all that?
Me, I’ll try and reserve my “rage rights” for something truly worth it. There are lots of other emotions at my and your disposal. So, while I am not encouraging us to be a nation of “zombies” I am asking us all to consider the benefits of doing two things;
- Dial down the overheated political rhetoric and,
- Choose not to be outraged and offended by everyone and everything
Your life may just depend on it. And mine.