Wednesday, November 03, 2004

[politics] anger is a gift

On a liberal-ish blog I frequent, someone posted something to the effect of "well, it's wrong to tell your kids how to think - let them figure it out on their own when they're old enough". Bullshit. What is wrong is teaching your kids to hate. What is wrong is telling your kids who to hate. What is also wrong is living in a relativist Shangri-La, where all points of view are equally valued. Guess what? Judge Roy Moore doesn't value your point of view. Ralph Reed doesn't value your point of view. And W sure as fuck doesn't value your point of view. Grover Nordquist has never valued your point of view. Scalia and Thomas? Please. Be serious. The challenge with your children, as I see it, is to not let your fear and anger show. Am I scared today? Yes. Am I angry today? Boo-yah! Did I let my son see that? For the future of this country, I sincerely hope not. My son is four years old. He's got a very advanced grasp of the world, and verbal skills to match, so we've been very open with him about our beliefs and we've tried to explain as best we can why we hold our Truths to be self evident. At some level, he gets it. We've explained that some people have different points of view, and that they are entitled to their point of view, but we've also made damn sure that by the end of our discussions of current events, our views are not changing because they aren't in synch with the larger electorate. The 'winning' views are not superior morally or intellectually. They just won. This time. This he also gets. So, apart from being a line in a song by Rage Against the Machine, where does the title come in? Anger is a great force for change; sometimes positive, sometimes negative. It is something we must harness and direct into purposeful action. Action will be different things for different people. But action of some kind there must be. Look at the sea changes of early modern Western thought: the Reformation and Counter-Reformation; the end of absolute Monarchy in the Age of Reason; the birth of Socialism out of the ruins of Merchant-Capitalism run amok. Look at American history: Abolition, the Labor movement, Civil Rights. Anger. Martin Luther? Ignatius Loyola? Jean Rousseau? Tom Paine? Pierre Prudhon? Fredrick Douglass? Mother Jones? WEB DuBois? Martin Luther King, Jr? Anger. Anger is in seeing the gulf between what is and what should be. It is in seeing the hypocrisy of the ruling elites as they manipulate the masses. It is in seeing clearly the injustice and exploitation rampant in the world. Anger is what will drive us forward. We are right, and we are certain, and ultimately (I hope) we will not be denied. But we can't feed our children on anger. We must nurture them on reason and hope, and that must prevail; anger they will discover soon enough.

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