I want this to be a mantra for me for most daily annoyances: “I refuse to be constantly outraged.”
Now, let me caveat it with that there are some things you should be outraged by…like the tragedies that occurred this weekend. We should mourn the loss of life and the loss of innocence, and we should rightly be outraged that a person used violent acts as an expression of racist, xenophobic beliefs. We should also be outraged that this event will be another data point that all sides will use in their respective decision matrix to support/oppose certain policy positions.
Every election, at least since I’ve been old enough to vote, has been “the most important election of our lifetime”. But is it really? My side has lost elections, but the Sun still rose in the East and sat in the West. We may have grumbled about the politics, but we made it through. The “other” side has lost elections, but the Sun still rose in the East and sat in the West. They grumble about the politics, but we will continue to make it through.
“We are at war!” is a phrase I heard by a campaign official at a GOP breakfast this weekend. I’ve heard that phrase quite often–usually in reference to Socialism–but it has given me pause. Are we calling our fellow members “the enemy” and we are supposed to wage war against them because they basically believe differently than us on how government dollars should be allocated?? These sharp rhetorical barbs get cheap points, but the cost is the continued division.
Both sides use their perpetual outrage machines to stoke the fires of discontent among the public. “You won’t believe what President Trump tweeted!” “Can you believe what Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats are saying??” There’s the expectation of outrage, and if you aren’t outraged enough (or at all), then obviously you’re complicit to the offending statement and your patriotism is called into question.
Can you be irritated or frustrated by an inflammatory statement? Sure. It’s human nature. Should you be outraged because right-wing talk radio or the left-wing social media told you to be? Ehhhhhh…..maybe keep your powder dry. Be passionate about your causes and candidates. Fight for what you believe is right, but let’s refuse to allow others to exploit our emotions to advance self-serving political agendas. Refuse to be constantly outraged.