Why so much rage?

It might be be­cause out­ra­geous be­hav­ior sells

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Cal Thomas Cal Thomas is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated columnist. His lat­est book is “What Works: Com­mon Sense So­lu­tions for a Stronger Amer­ica” (Zon­der­van, 2014).

So many of us iden­tify as mem­bers of tribes — right, left, re­li­gious, sec­u­lar, Re­pub­li­can, Demo­crat, so­cial­ist.

“Why do the hea­then rage and the peo­ple imag­ine a vain thing?”

(Psalm 2:1, King James Bible )

That didn’t take long. Less than 48 hours af­ter the shoot­ing ram­page tar­get­ing Re­pub­li­can mem­bers of Congress and their staff on a base­ball field in Alexan­dria, Va., fol­lowed by the pic­ture of Repub­li­cans and Democrats kneel­ing in prayer at Na­tion­als Park be­fore their an­nual char­ity game, things re­turned to nor­mal … or ab­nor­mal.

On Fri­day, the Drudge Re­port ran these head­lines: “Shots fired at a truck fly­ing ‘Make Amer­ica Great Again’ flag”; “Star­bucks staff ha­rasses Trump sup­port­ing cus­tomer”; “Time Warner de­fends fund­ing ‘as­sas­si­na­tion play,’ ” in which Julius Cae­sar is pre­sented as a Don­ald Trump look-alike in Shake­speare’s clas­sic.

Can it get any worse? Prob­a­bly. Should it? No.

How do we turn this caus­tic and crude lan­guage and be­hav­ior around? That is the ul­ti­mate ques­tion. I am not sure any­one can pro­vide the an­swer. If they could, they would have by now. Or would they? There is money to be made, TV rat­ings to be gained and power to be pre­served by keep­ing the pot stirred.

While some con­ser­va­tives do not have clean hands when it comes to stok­ing the par­ti­san fires, it is the left that is mostly re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing us to new depths in po­lit­i­cal, ver­bal and be­hav­ioral abuse. They just can’t ac­cept their losses, not only in the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, which they were told by poll­sters and the me­dia they would win, but in gov­er­nor­ships and state leg­is­la­tures as well.

It never oc­curs to them that their poli­cies, forged in the era of Franklin Roo­sevelt, have ex­ceeded their “sellby” date, and so they lash out, try­ing to un­der­mine the duly elected pres­i­dent by fo­cus­ing on things that have noth­ing to do with av­er­age peo­ple.

When Re­pub­li­can pres­i­dents leave of­fice they mostly do not com­ment on their suc­ces­sors. Not so with Demo­cratic ex-pres­i­dents, who often be­have as if their terms never ended. Or­ga­niz­ing for Ac­tion, a com­mu­nity-or­ga­niz­ing project, which is a spinoff of Pres­i­dent Obama’s Or­ga­niz­ing for Amer­ica, ap­pears to op­er­ate only to cause harm to and ul­ti­mately im­peach Pres­i­dent Trump. The Saul Alin­sky play­book re­mains the bible of the po­lit­i­cal left. Barack Obama and Hil­lary Clin­ton are, and have long been, Alin­sky dis­ci­ples.

So many of us iden­tify as mem­bers of tribes — right, left, re­li­gious, sec­u­lar, Re­pub­li­can, Demo­crat, so­cial­ist. No mem­ber of one tribe seems will­ing to speak to any mem­ber of an­other tribe, or find out how and why the other came to their point of view. Ap­par­ently, many peo­ple are fine with this, at least the po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists among them. They de­mand 100 per­cent con­form­ity from mem­bers of their tribe. If one com­pro­mises in the small­est way in or­der to achieve some­thing that will ben­e­fit the most peo­ple, they are de­nounced as in­suf­fi­ciently lib­eral or con­ser­va­tive.

Let’s em­ploy a sports ex­am­ple. When a vis­it­ing base­ball team is at bat, fans usu­ally ex­press them­selves in loud voices hop­ing the bat­ter will strike out. When the bat­ter hits a home run and puts his team ahead, or wins the game, the crowd be­comes quiet.

Suc­cess is also the eas­i­est way to quell loud crit­i­cism in pol­i­tics. Pres­i­dent Trump is hav­ing some suc­cesses, though they are tak­ing him longer to achieve be­cause of all the noise about ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. He should con­tinue on that path, point­ing out where old poli­cies and pro­grams have failed and are wast­ing tax­payer money, and not­ing where a dif­fer­ent ap­proach is suc­ceed­ing or can suc­ceed. Ide­ol­ogy quickly be­comes sec­ondary if you can show the pub­lic your ideas are pro­duc­ing real and mea­sur­able re­sults.

The noise, for­tu­nately, doesn’t seem to be work­ing, at least in “fly­over coun­try.” The lat­est Ras­mussen Poll shows the pres­i­dent’s ap­proval rat­ing at 50 per­cent, though other polls put that per­cent­age far lower. Still, if the left and their me­dia acolytes con­tinue to rage, it will likely be to their detri­ment.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY GREG GROESCH

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