Angry for a Reason

My Left Wing’s Maryscott O’Connor is profiled today on the front page of the WaPo in an article called The Left, Online and Outraged. The entire piece made me squirm, not because it was so determinedly (and exclusively) focused on the anger of the lefty blogosphere, which is an important story—lots of Americans are really pissed off—but because of author David Finkel’s assumptions about the genesis of this widespread anger.

[A]fter years of being the targets of inflammatory rhetoric, not only from fringe groups but also from such mainstream conservative politicians as Newt Gingrich, the left has gone on the attack. And with Republicans in control of Washington, they have much more to be angry about.
Now this is technically true. I am bloody angry as hell because the Republicans are in control of Washington, but it’s because of what they’re doing in their leadership role, not simply because the Democrats are not in control or because conservatives are nasty. I blog because their leadership is thoroughly incompetent, corrupt, untrustworthy, and beholden to corporate and conservative Christian interests that are bad for me as a worker, a consumer, a believer in the separation of church and state, and a woman who values her bodily autonomy—and bad for the LGBT community, the poor, the ill lacking healthcare, undocumented workers, public school children, and lots and lots of other people, not to mention bad for our civil rights, the environment, national security, the economy, our international reputation, etc. etc. etc.

It ain’t sour grapes that fuels my ire.

Finkel mistakes passion for poutiness, and that’s what made me squirm. There are a lot people who feel disenfranchised and disheartened right now, and that’s why they’re angry. Meaningfully addressing the source of this anger isn’t as convenient as chalking it up to the same old tit-for-tat game as which the media loves to cast politics, with a winner and a loser and gloating supporters on one side and petulant ones on the other. What the winners do with their spoils matters. The GOP leadership has been a disaster, and most of us who respond with righteous anger aren’t throwing tantrums like two-year-olds denied what we want; we’re doing the hard work of responsible citizenry—trying to hold to account a failed administration that’s bad for our country.

(Crossposted at Ezra’s place.)

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