Posts Tagged ‘navarrette’

Anger Management

4 January 2010

Dear J-

When I was going through driver’s education they called it DWI — driving while intoxicated; by the time I moved down here it was known as DUI, driving under the influence. It’s more appropriate; in the past few weeks I’ve noticed the specific influence being mentioned as generally alcohol, but occasionally drugs and prescription medication as well. As a nation we seem to be prone to operating under the influence of rage lately, though. From talk radio to newspaper columnists (I’ve never seen someone throw such a hissy fit over letters to a opinion columnist; Ruben Navarrette fails to answer the arguments and instead dismisses criticism as being the product of overprotective parents and therefore invalid) to road rage (remember when freeway shootings first became news?) we keep finding and justifying ways to fly off the handle at the slightest misstep.

Is it part of the general rude trend of society? Are we so inured to watching people behave badly on television that we’ve come to accept it as part of our lives? As the little brother part of the job was to torment and be tormented until erupting and being counseled patience by our parents. Now of course we have pundits and lobbying groups whipping us up into indignant fury to carry us to the polls with a vengeance: how many times have you heard phrases ending in “… and I vote!”? We like to think that we’re beyond the days of being five (“He started it/Did nol/Did so/&tc.”) but unfortunately it feels like we’re too easily manipulated into believing the worst in our fellow humans.

Anger is a powerful emotion, but it burns through like a fire and leaves me feeling hollow inside once it’s past. Actions taken out of rage are hastily, sloppily performed and show it. I know that I’m often left with remorse afterwards but I’ve already burned the bridges in my haste to react; if patience is the watchword of maturity, we owe it to ourselves to act our age, at least when treating our fellow people as, well, respectable folks.