Anger Management

The following letter was published in the November 4, 2010, issue of the Lakeville Journal:

Two weeks before the election I went to a political gathering with candidates for Senate, Congress, State offices and local offices.  I had a brief conversation with the Attorney General, the Democratic Party’s candidate for the Senate.   “I wish,” I told him, “you would not use the phrase ‘fighting for you’ so often.  There’s too much anger in the country already and that kind of language just makes it worse.”  “But that’s what I’m doing,” he said.  “I’m fighting all the time.” I told him that former Representative Nancy Johnson (Republican) had used the phrase frequently and first made me aware of how often it is used.  Later we heard speeches and he used the term over and over again as if to rub my nose in it.  If his opponent were someone I could conceivably have voted for, I would have done it.  But she made her money promoting violence so that was an infinitely worse choice.

Later I read Frank Rich’s column in the Sunday New York Times, “The Rage That Won’t Go Away After Election Day.”   He reported that a Time magazine investigation found the “threat level against the President and other government targets” at its highest level in many years.  Sarah Palin has encouraged her listeners to “Reload” and the Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada said that citizens should “consider Second Amendment remedies against a tyrannical government.”

Yes, unemployment is too high and too many mortgages are being foreclosed but taxes were far higher under Eisenhower and a health bill that protects us against insurance companies is not endangering our liberties but protecting them.  Let’s not lose our perspective.  Is there a country where you would rather live?  Let’s lower the rhetoric and find ways to work together for the common good.  Maybe a few more of us need to challenge our politicians when they talk as if politics were warfare.  It doesn’t need to be, but it’s up to us to call on those who would represent us to tone their language down and remember that we may not always agree but we are all Americans.

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