Good Fences Make Good Blog Posts, or “Obama and the Age of Anger Fatigue”
As much as I’d like to be freezing in Chicago with the literati right now, I’m instead shockingly not freezing in Burlington, where a spring-like, mid-February rain gave me a free winter carwash this afternoon.
Coming up with ideas to post to a non-themed blog is difficult because of the complete lack of “topic fences.” You’d think I could just find something that makes me really angry and write about that. But I don’t know what to be mad about right now. I simply don’t feel significantly peeved about anything in the world. It used to be much easier to come up with stuff to get riled up about because I could just type “George W. Bush” into Google News and instantly feel completely incensed. But now he’s gone, and he’s taken my anger with him.
Certainly, Bush’s exit didn’t magically make the world a better place, but I think over his eight-year reign of anti-terror-terror he gave many left-wingers the opposite of compassion fatigue. Call it anger fatigue. Now that Obama’s in charge, the blue staters seem to be relaxing because at least for the time being, they are sick of boiling their blood over unjust wars, declining civil liberties, faltering economies, and so on. They’re still mad, yeah, but not mad enough at any one particular individual or cause. Case in point: Bernie Madoff screwed people out of billions of dollars and is still not in jail.
Now, clearly, the world is not short on causes and topics of outrage and actionability, so this lack of anger is somewhat troubling. How does that saying go… “If you’re not mad, you’re not paying attention”?
The United States, like much of the world, is probably more rife with critical issues than ever before—and shorter on time to act on them. The economy is falling apart and people don’t have health care and the pandas are dying off and all of that stuff, but the big picture is even more grim: how are we going to feed and house our booming population and run all these fancy machines when we have such a limited amount of space and a rapidly decreasing supply of nonrenewable energy?
This is an obvious point, but worth meditating on: anxiety over the dire state of the world should dwarf any distress you felt over the last eight years when you watched Bush stumble over the lines of a speech force-fed to him by his friends in the oil industry.
Of course, while the urgency of creating a more sustainable world is great, the difficulty of overcoming the forces that made it unsustainable in the first place are even greater. So, it’s no wonder liberals focused their anger on Bush for so long—he was an easy target who personified their struggle. But now that he’s gone, it’s vital that people don’t trap themselves by thinking that the non-green forces he represented somehow scurried away to rural Texas with him.
So, I suppose what I’m trying to say is, it’s well past time to stop celebrating Obama’s victory; it’s now time to get down to the business of saving the world.