Friday, April 10, 2009

Populist Anger-Talking back to the WSJ

In response to a WSJ article: Populist Anger Is Hard to Contain, By SUZANNE GARMENT

Suzanne Garment leads us to think that Populist anger is a dangerous irrational public reaction, which must be controlled; asserting that “the president’s job is not to express populist anger, but to address the anger and talk sense to it.”
She also compares the modern anger with the post-Civil War populism that disenfranchised African-Americans in the South.
One important difference: without the communications channels of today, masses could only be stirred up by clever orators and agitator, and behaved irrationally by the emotions awakened by their leaders. Although this is still possible in our day, through today’s Internet, the anger is a reaction of the individual, who without consultation writes to his representatives and blogs the reason for his upset.
The populism caused the Jim Crow laws is an indictment on the legislators, who instead of explaining why certain aspects of the law were not acceptable and would violate civil rights, were actually in support of them.
When we look at history, we can’t be sure what parts of populist grievances were valid and which were not. But when we look at today’s recent history, we have a) clear reasons for the heavy traffic to representatives, and public officials, addressing real issues, and b) The reason for our anger, which is the target of Suzanne’s article.
A primordial human trait is the assertion of its existence through communications which is heard, understood, and responded to with logical information and logical action. Such failures always and invariable escalate into violence, unless they are quashed, to smolder over endless time when it will resurface. When gentle and polite words aren’t heeded, it is followed by a gradual emphasis of voice tone and volume. At some point anger ensues, and eventually words become fists, weapons, and bullets.
In our time this anger is particularly dangerous not because it’s irrational, but because it’s exacerbated by betrayal: the betrayal of the promise of hope, of participation, of openness, reversing the damaging trends of the past that brought Obama into power. But all we got so far is window-dressing; the administration will hear no other voices than from their inner circle. There are plenty examples of this, all the way back to Obama’s back-pedaling on FISA, and allowing immunity to Telco’s, because the overall legislation was vital!!! Poppycock!
People believed (and many still do—wishful thinking) that Obama would be a real change, which renders makes it a betrayal, not just a McCain or Bush “business as usual,” as that would have been expected. With Obama, real change was expected. But day after day we see the predominant direction a newly clothed variation of what has gone before for a half a century. For many, the last hope has been shattered.

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