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The Politicization of Anger

Exclusive commentary by Greg Lewis /
June 10, 2003

Many of the signature U.S. political movements of the 1960s — from Civil Rights to the Women's Movement to Free Speech — were founded on justifiable anger at difficult, if not intolerable, conditions. But over the past 40 years, the well-intentioned and honorable impulses of that era have spawned results their originators would hardly recognize. The justifiably angry left gradually became the cynically angry left as the positions, values, and tactics employed to legitimate ends in the '60s became ossified over the next several decades.

The Angry Left has been transformed from the very symbol of freedom into its exact opposite: a political force that would impose totalitarian control over its subjects in all important areas, from government to education to medicine to communications. The politicization of anger by the Left has turned this fundamental emotion into something infinitely more complex than, for instance, road rage. To complicate matters further, just when you think you're beginning to catch on to the anger thing, another case of political anger pops up and confuses you even more.

Here are a few examples of acceptable and unacceptable political anger, as defined by the Angry Left:
You can be angry that war is violent, but you can't be angry about the glorification of violence that is one of the core values of the Hollywood branch of the entertainment industry.

You can be angry that Jews kill Palestinians, but you can't be angry that Palestinians kill Jews.

You can be angry that Trent Lott made a stupid and indefensible statement in favor of the 1948 Dixiecrat candidacy of Strom Thurmond, but you can't be angry that Robert Byrd, the former Ku Klux Klan Kleagle who led the Democratic Party in the Senate for a dozen years through the late 1980s, used the equally stupid and indefensible phrase "white Nigger" on a Sunday morning news-talk show not long ago.

You can be angry that Americans drive SUVs, but you can't be angry that anti-pollution laws setting mileage standards which dictate that a significant percentage of American cars will be unsafe have been responsible for the deaths of as many as 46,000 Americans since 1975.

You can be angry that House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde oversaw then-President Clinton's impeachment for legal, moral, and ethical "high crimes and misdemeanors," but you can't be angry that actor Alec Baldwin said that Hyde should be "stoned to death" and his family "killed" on the Late Night With Conan O'Brien show in front of more than a million TV viewers.

You can be angry that a species of animal is endangered when its habitat is disturbed by human activity, but you can't be angry that families of human beings are deprived of their homes and livelihoods in order to protect endangered species.

You can be angry that as many as a thousand civilians may have died in the U.S.-led war to liberate Afghanistan and remove the Taliban from power, but you can't be angry that the Taliban had murdered tens of thousands of Afghanis during their reign of terror and would have murdered thousands more if they had stayed in power for even a year longer than they did.

You can be angry that there are people in the United States who think that most, or even all, abortions should be banned, but you can't be angry that in Communist China the selective killing of female babies because male babies are highly desirable in that culture has led to a staggering and demographically disastrous ratio of 117 male births for every 100 female births.

You can be angry that the Miss America and Miss World pageants exploit women by presenting them as sexual objects, but you can't be angry that Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (to name only two) exploit adolescent female sexuality to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues for themselves and the corporations they work for.

You can be angry that the Reverend Jerry Falwell exhorts people to live lives that exemplify Christian virtues, but you can't be angry that rap/hip-hop artists from Public Enemy to Eminem have espoused misogyny and murder in their lyrics.
The Angry Left has transformed public debate from a forum for the legitimate discussion of important issues into a war zone where you have to fear for your well-being if you so much as try to give voice to a legitimate and defensible position in opposition to theirs.

The tactic used by the Angry Left to further their totalitarian aims which I'm referring to is, of course, political correctness. The problem is that thinking and feeling Americans — despite the blinders the Angry Left seeks to impose on all citizens through its education and communications hegemonies — still have the intelligence and common sense and decency to look around and say, Wait a minute! What kind of fast one are you trying to pull? What sort of perverse notion of fairness and decency are you trying to shove down our throats?

The Left is no longer speaking to what amounts to a captive audience (except in most colleges and universities.) The rise of talk radio and of the extraordinary exchange of information that takes place on the internet are among the primary reasons the leftist agenda is beginning to crumble. When people are allowed free choice of the programs they listen to and the information they access, the Left loses. Left liberals cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas. In the age of instant communications, their ideas are challenged immediately, and they have no responses. At least none that thinking Americans want to hear.

America is on to the Angry Left. The political correctness Left/Liberals would impose on all of us if they gained further control in this country twists, distorts, and perverts political and social issues so that they become nothing more than attempts to leverage anger in support of dangerous and intolerable political positions.

We know better, and we're not about to let a group who misjudges and mistrusts the intelligence and common sense of the American people lead us down the path to social, moral and political dissolution in the name of a legitimate emotion which they have co-opted to shore up a corrupt and dissolute agenda.

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