Why We Are All So Mad

Published: May 28, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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Social division, racial division, political division, economic division, lies, rage, violence.

After another mass shooting, California Governor Gavin Newson said, “What the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us?”

Before all this rage and violence exploded, too many were living lives of quiet desperation – desperate to be heard, desperate to be accepted, desperate to be valued.

When COVID-19 hit, political tribalism hit its peak and left us fearful, distrusting, and mad as hell. The facilitator of much of this has been social media, a place where people could retreat, rant, and share with other like-minded ranters. A device created to “socialize” with friends, relatives and others has devolved into a mechanism that validates the misperceptions of the disaffected, and gives voice to every rage-filled alternative fact that, like a chain letter, causes many to pass it along, no matter how disconnected from reality it is.

However, social media’s grip took place long before wearing masks, and social distancing. It began when we stopped thinking and relied on others to do our thinking for us.

We need less enragement and more engagement with each other.

Memorial Day might give us a chance to once again believe in our country and each other. It could give us a chance to think for ourselves, consider how we can change instead of expecting others to change for us. It offers the chance to climb out of the pit of fear and hate and stand together.

Years of anger, hate, war, and reconciliation led us to stand together with words from an earlier time.

With the end of the Civil War in sight, President Lincoln urged his fellow citizens “to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

This Memorial Day let us not only honor those who sacrificed but strive to be worthy of their sacrifice, “bind up the nation’s wounds” and work for a just and lasting peace among ourselves.

I’ll return Tuesday, June 1.

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