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Angry yet? Good for US

| April 18, 2010 9:00 PM

Maybe the nation is mad as, well, heck. And just maybe the nation isn't gonna take it anymore.

But is the anger unprecedented? Is it dangerous? Is it even unhealthy?

A little perspective might help us answer these questions.

Awhile back, newspapers had plenty to say about a certain presidential candidate.

A New York paper referred to him as the seal of death.

A Connecticut newspaper called him "a spendthrift, a libertine ... an atheist" and suggested that nobody would trust him with the least concerns of their private affairs, let alone entrust him "with the treasure, the strength, and the destiny of the nation."

A national paper said he lacked integrity, was "aiming at the ... malignancy of a free people" and was an enemy of the business community.

A paper in Boston accused him of "crooked character and principles," "insatiable ambitions" and "antipathy to the Federal Constitution and his fixed determination to overthrow it."

Several of these papers went so far as to suggest the candidate was dead - and if not, that he should be.

The papers were all referring, of course, to our nation's first Republican president, Thomas Jefferson. Yes, 210 years ago they were mad as heck, and they weren't gonna take it.

In a recent issue of The Christian Science Monitor, the cover story touts "United States of Anger" with a subtitle, "Overheated discourse, amplified by TV and Internet flamethrowers, portrays a nation torn by polar extremes. A societal shift - or just plain noise?"

The article adroitly points out that polls comparing Americans' anger and frustration toward federal government in 1992 and currently shows we were a heck of a lot madder then than we are now. And it lists four 20th century events alone that incited national angst similar to or perhaps greater than what we're experiencing now, including the Tea Party-like California taxpayer revolt known as Proposition 13.

Maybe we're overly optimistic, but we see controlled anger as better than apathy. If the recession and dramatic changes in federal policy lead to greater public activism, our nation will be the better for it.

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