Thursday, November 25, 2010

The United States of Anger

It seems everyone I meet these days is ticked-off.

These are challenging times for sure and for countless Americans, fear of what may happen is being replaced by anger about what is happening or perceived to be happening.

Corporate bailouts, unemployment, partisan politics, national security threats, etc. are having a negative impact on the national frame of mind and on the American quality of life.

Let's face it, we're all bitching and moaning.

So what can we do before we drown in our own bile and The New Jersey Turnpike opens up a designated road rage lane? Can we as individuals change anything?

First of all, our world has always been a volatile planet and the United States has had "growing pains" since the original colonies were established. You want to put today into proper perspective? Study history.

Not only do we as a society fail to learn from history (that's why it always repeats itself), we rarely use it as a reference point to help keep our perspective on current events. Here are my thoughts:

I went to high school and college during late 60's and early 70's. The music was friggin' great but there were a few pesty little problems that distracted us; the Vietnam war, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, race riots, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the The Kent State Massacre, inflation, the oil crisis, the My Lai Massacre, urban decay, Watergate.

Anyone who remembers will tell you that the mood of the country during those years sucked.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression and World War II - Talk about a double-whammy! There's a reason they are part of what is considered to be "The Greatest Generation."

Today, bad news and controversy not only travels fast, it never lets up. With the exception of employer-issued devices, we have volunteered to be wired-in 24/7.

Information overload is spiking our stress levels and fueling our anger. We need to turn off the cable news networks, the internet and our blackberries at regular intervals before the three-screen lifestyle drives us crazy.

Facebook is no substitute for face-to-face friendship. What are your 1,000 followers going to do for you when the chips are down? Tag a photo? Poke you? Ask for a pig on Farmville?

Illegal and uncontrolled immigration is a problem, but closing our borders to those seeking a better life is not the American Way.

Harnessing the desire of new arrivals to survive and succeed is what made this country great in the first place. Unless you are a member of the Sioux Nation, your ancestors crashed the party. Get over it.

Remember, as bad as you think things are, there is always someone worse off than you. Very often they are within arm's reach. Look around you. One of your neighbors or co-workers may need some help or just someone to talk to.

Maybe they've been out of work for an extended period, maybe they lost a loved one who served our country in Afghanistan...That conversation may just cause you to get over your anger and count your blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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