DeWayne's World - Ignorance fuels anger and desire
“Is anger the fuel that powers political passion?” is the question Ben Boychuck, a writer for the Washington Post, asked back in 2008.
I wondered the same thing as I covered the Sept. 17 Peoria County Tea Party. There was lots of anger on display Sept. 17.
Boychuck wrote, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. At the moment, conservatives are trying to figure out what to do. They’re depressed, afraid and, yes, they’re angry. They’re angry the GOP over the past eight years indulged in an orgy of spending and turned a blind-eye to corruption ... Fact is, anger is not a platform. Saying ‘Obama isn’t my president’ — as some liberals insisted that President Bush was ‘selected, not elected’ — isn’t persuasive.
“The job of the next four years is to check Obama’s worst instincts and hold him accountable for his policies — without anger or malice, but in the spirit of loyal opposition and cheerful patriotism.”
That message was not playing in Peoria Sept. 17.
There was unbridled anger.
There were people wearing Obama T-shirts with his face painted up like The Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
Signs at the Tea Party spoke volumes. One woman carried a sign reading,
“Recession: When your neighbor loses his job; Depression: When you lose your job; Recovery: When Obama loses his.”
I talked to a number of people who said the event was non-partisan. That was hard to put together with the signs and most of the rhetoric I heard.
The point is, there’s a lot of anger out there.
“Today is Constitution Day. This is about reminding people we have one,” said Brent Roos, a Peoria Heights resident and a member of the Campaign for Liberty.
“This is not an attack on the current administration. It’s about being fed up in general.”
Late in the rally, I heard another truth. That truth is basically: Ignorance fuels anger.
Brad Carter, a Peoria constitutional scholar, spoke near the end of the rally and offered some incredible wisdom explaining why we see so much political anger.
“The founders knew the rights we enjoy begin and end with the people. But, with every right comes a responsibility,” Carter said.
As I thought about it, I realized there is a lot of wisdom in Carter’s statement.
We all know we have rights.
We do not, however, pay attention to the fact we have a responsibility to hold those who govern to the powers they are given by the Constitution.
“Be educated so you can educate,” Carter told the crowd.
There was no anger in his words. Carter’s is a statement rife with disappointment, because it means we, the people, have allowed what we see today to happen.
“(The Constitution) is only a piece of paper, unless you support it,” Carter said.
“We’ve had 222 years of watering the Constitution down. It’s become common practice.”
Carter said despite the Constitution being so important to everyone’s life, it has no relevance today to most people.
That, he said, is sad.
Carter said the people gathered at the rally expressing anger are a step in the right direction.
“A vast majority of the people know something’s wrong. They just don’t know what’s wrong,” Carter said. “These people know they don’t know enough. They’re asking questions. That’s a good thing.”
Let’s hope anger powers a desire to find political reason.