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When will the anger end?

When will the anger end?

If you think we are living in an era of anger, you have been paying attention.  The one thing upon which we all should be able to agree is that the contemporary culture is characterized by negativism manifesting as … anger.  Politics and a bad economy (for the average person) seem to be the drivers.

It is not just a matter of personal perception.  There is documentation.  Recent polling shows that 55 percent of us are “very angry” when it comes to politics.  Another 34 percent are “somewhat angry.”  Only 11 percent say they are not feeling any anger.  One must wonder in what utopian bubble they exist.

The good news – be there any – is that our current cultural anger is not the result of a long trajectory of decline.  It is more of a cyclical phenomenon.  In a single lifetime, we have gone in and out of such emotional cycles.  The 1950s were seen as an era of “peace and prosperity.”  Everyone liked Ike (President Eisenhower) and seemingly each other.

It did not last, by the 1960s, we were engaged in social unrest – war protests, civil rights, feminism, gay rights.  An unprecedented number of political figures were violently attacked or killed – President Jack Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Governor George Wallace.  It was an era of rioting and bombs.  The 1960s were known as the “Days of Rage.”  Arguably, the anger and political violence exceeds today.

The 1980s entered as another era of national unity, harmony and patriotism.  It led to the 1984 reelection of President Reagan in one of the largest landslides in American history.  He won 49 of the 50 states – topping his 44-state victory in 1980.

Eight years later, the national attitude turned sour again.  The 1992 campaign was acrimonious.  Scandal followed candidate Bill Clinton like a hound after the fox.  He coined the phrase “politics of personal destruction” to describe the political climate.  In response, President George H. W. Bush promised a “kinder and gentler” approach.

Following the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Towers, there was a reactive era of national unity.  President George W. Bush was popular – and was handily reelected in 2004.  While the election of President Obama was unprecedented and controversial, the national mood generally remained upbeat – or at least not angry.  There was not a lot of demonstrable anger at the grassroots – and Obama was re-elected 2012.

No matter what one’s position may be on President Trump, there can be no refutation of the fact that he leads from anger.  He set a pugnacious tone unlike any presidential candidate in American history.  This was complemented by an equally divisive tone set by Trump’s opponent, former First Lady Hillary Clinton – who famous defined the Republican electorate as “a basket of deplorables.”

So … once again we are wallowing in the muck of angst and anger that is not only dividing the nation, but friends and family.  Not dissimilar from what we experienced in the past – especially in the 1960s.

However, it is not the anger that divides us, but rather our division that creates the anger.  When people in a democratic Republic are so evenly divided on most of the major issues, the political debate naturally heats up — turns acrid and personal. That is because slight shifts in the electorate can create profound changes in policy.  Consequently, every issue becomes a balance-of-power issue.  We fight over everything.  We become angry with “the other side.”

The best thing we can say about this era of anger is that it WILL end – as it always has.  As an answer to the headline question … I do not know when, just that it will.  If politics was the weather, we would be experiencing a rainy day.  But the sun will break through eventually.  You can count on it. (But then, I am an optimist).

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

19 Comments

  1. Jim lucas

    The anger will end when the last democrat is removed from the country

    • frank stetson

      Then it’s never ending anger for Mr. Lucas. Good news is that he wears it well. Because he hasn’t removed a single one, no matter how much he threatens.

      • Jim lucas

        You really don’t know

  2. frank stetson

    Is that a picture of Horist’s wife greeting him this fine Saturday morning?

    Man, tell me you are not obsessed :>) You run through the decades and leave out mine — the 70’s! Where we took the best from the 60’s, got su. su, serious, and partied like it’s 1999, which incidentally was penned just after Prince actually did it in the 70’s, in Chicago, Horist was there :>) NOT :>)

    Ever see “Dazed and Confused?” That’s me! Pretty damned close to accurate although the Affleck hazing was being phased out (remember my locker slam and fairy loop stories) and the partying was being phased in. Like flapping in the 30’s, cocktails in the 50’s, these fads are cyclical too.
    On the anger scale, I would bet demographically we have skewed more anger to the young, at least on the left. There was less of them as a percentage, but with covid killing off the less angry older folk, probably more of them today than yesterday. Could be a really hot summer! Viva la ’68! Me, Mom, cheering on the protestors. Oh those were the days. Dad, Mom waking up to protestors sleeping all over the house, Dad screaming Mary, Mary, there’s boys and girls sleeping together in the living room and hearing back: We’re all dudes, man. Dudes.

    I mean Billy rapped all night about his……I’ve drunk a lot wine, and I’m feeling fine, got to race some…… dudes, carry the news.

    Anger is OK. Violence is not. Hopefully they can keep it in their pants. But I doubt it. Not based on the past election.

    • Tom

      Why can’t we just all spill the wine, dig that girl!!!! Roll me another one bro!!! Make it cigar size!!! Any more vodka for the bong??!!!

    • Jim lucas

      You had a queer orgy in your parent’s house?

      • frank stetson

        Jim, perhaps you have nailed it. You seem to know a lot and be quite experienced in the gay life. It’s as if you really know it well. I was barely a teenager, wasn’t having any orgies, much less with my much older siblings friends. I would not have had clue what these protestors of the young adult variety were really doing. So if that’s what you think happened based on your lifestyle choices, well, perhaps.

        Although the ladies were all asleep upstairs. Perhaps a lesbian orgy? Again, you are the expert so I will defer to your expertise in everything gay.

  3. Tom

    Larry, I grew up in the 60’s and do not remember it being called the “Days of Rage”. I do remember the “Summer of Love”. Also, after Obama was elected I do remember Mitch McConnell saying that the GOP mission will be to make Obama a one term president which seems like an angry tone towards a POTUS. And I remember from history that the anger once upon a time ended in a Civil War, cannon’s a’blazing!

    Thank you for this paragraph, it helps me understand you when you say, “However, it is not the anger that divides us, but rather our division that creates the anger. When people in a democratic Republic are so evenly divided on most of the major issues, the political debate naturally heats up — turns acrid and personal. That is because slight shifts in the electorate can create profound changes in policy. Consequently, every issue becomes a balance-of-power issue. We fight over everything. We become angry with “the other side.”

    As for me, I have not yet reached anger. I am still at disappointment. The cure for anger is hope, and that is what the Bible is all about, hope. I believe in being slow to anger and quick to forgive! And I look forward to the day when the lion (conservative) will lay down with the lamb (liberal).

    • larry Horist

      Tom … A bit of quick research on Google. “What is the meaning of the Days of Rage?
      The Days of Rage were a series of protests during three days in October 1969 in Chicago, organized by the emerging Weatherman faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Days of Rage. Part of the opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam and political violence in the United States during the Cold War.”

      • Tom

        Yeah, I guess the Weatherman and their underground group never made it to my hometown. I thought they were mostly in Chicago and maybe San Fran. I am not sure that I would characterize the entire decade of over 169,000,000 people by something the ill fated idiot Weatherman did. Wasn’t the Weatherman the group that was trained by the same guy who trained Obama? I would say that in general, the population was more distrustful and somewhat angry at federal government from later 1967 and onward. And I do remember Walter Cronkite getting on his news show and telling the people that we had been lied to, that we were not winning in Vietnam and the best we can hope to achieve is a stalemate. I’m sure that took LBJ by surprise and made him soil his knickers! LOL

        Thanks for the history!

        • larry Horist

          Tom … The Weathermen were a national issue. Did you miss their bombing of the Capitol Building, the pentagon and several police stations in New York. Several members were killed when a bomb accidentally went off in their townhouse bomb factory in New York. Bernadette Dohrn and Bill Ayers were on the FBI most wanted list for years. Dohrn and Ayers were implicated in a bombing of a police station in San Francisco that killed a police sergeant. Two of their acolytes were convicted of murder in conjunction with an armor car robbery in Nanuet, New York. Ayers adopted their children when the couple went to jail. They frequently called on others to kill police and soldiers. They were implicated in scores of violent actions all across the country for several years — those days of rage. Over the years, I has seen that era referred to as the “days of rage” by innumerable journalists, authors, historians, etc. I am really surprised you never heard of it. It was way not a local story. After being arrested and serving time, Dohrn and Ayers were hired by universities as professors — Dohrn a professor of law at Northwestern and Ayers a professor of education at the University of Illinois. The radical left has been influencing academia for a loooong time. By today’s definition, Dohrn and Ayers carried out domestic terrorism on a grand scale.

  4. Frank stetson

    Hmmm. Sorry, purist here. Water n glass. Never much on passing around. Besides, needed a clear head. It’s a business dealing pleasure, dude. And a pleasure doing business.

    Although it was funny walking the halls of the fortune 100 doing business, newly cut hair n all.

  5. Darren

    I do not remember the phrases you mentioned either Larry.
    As far as Rage goes, there is rage because in all history there has always been
    1 party backing their Presidential Candidate.
    Trump changed that, not him personally, but the election he won was BETWEEN POLATITIONS & THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.
    I personally was tired of the lies from Bush, Clintons, Not so much Obama as he was just there to say look at me!
    Make NO mistake, the AMERICAN PEOPLE were the ones being lied to by Washington daily with action taken or not taken.
    Washington did what it wanted to no matter what the people asked for.
    When Trump won, it showed a rally of all of Washington’s lets all keep getting rich people, and the American public that voted for Trump.
    This is so evident in EVERYTHING said and done from News, Washington agency’s, all of it. And it is still going to this day!
    To this day we Deplorables just want a president that does what the people are asking for and not what the likes of Hillary
    want to shove down our throats’.
    Trumps people did not create a Dossier about anyone in public office!
    The LOOSER did, and to this day she is not imprisoned, why!
    This was done because, NOT the Left or the Right, but the people who thought they controlled Washington and our country LOST as election!
    This anger is not about Trump, it is about people of this country feeling their vote makes NO difference, about the Fact, TOM, or Frank
    or Larry may have a son or daughter who could be the next biggest thing to our country, but the American people will never know it!
    This is were the Anger is coming from!

    • Frank stetson

      It’s run on sentences that are making me angry…..

    • Tom

      And Darren, just where did you read that I wrote my vote does not make a difference. This US Military Veteran fought for the right to vote. Stop reading your perceptions into my words.

  6. Robert D Sartin

    Had they asked me, I would have said, “VERY angry”. Anger is a natural emotion, genetically based and event triggered. Decades ago, I began to separate anger from the desire to blame or retaliate – both of which many people seem to see as an appropriate course. I don’t let it drive me. I sort through the roots. I look for values’ base options – asking, Caan we not get here again?

  7. AC

    When will the anger end? Good question Larry. Better yet is asking your self the very personal question. What is it that angers me? Probing further with introspection consider how your anger affects judgement, opinion formation, expressing views, and critical thinking. Recognizing the facts about anger’s origin. It’s genesis flows from ones inability to take a dispassionate perspective when presenting your own particularly certain points on any given subject topic or any individual person(s) about which and with whom you are in adamant disagreement. Angry written oratory lambasting others’ views based some bias had that only your one perspective and view remains forever correct and therefore absolute and true. That others by a wide and vast majority are not PBP fluent and do not follow The Gospel of Horist, does not define all those you upbraid.
    You, Larry, being of the generation preceding the Boomer Generation, are so well placed in history that the meaning intended in this wisdom literature fragment should not be lost on you. Those who choose to live by the sword will ultimately die by the sword. IMO, it is not the persistently angry persons who will inherit peace in this life. (Nor, in the next).
    You often mention a prophecy of yours entailed in the word, existential. Context, as in all considerations, in the instances you use the word speaks to your anger towards the “left” as being unquenchable. Your admission of entertaining friendships with persons on the liberal political left not with standing, as well as your saying you bear no hatred toward anyone, does not compute nor mesh with your PBP established persona. That what appears under your by-line in print predictably comes from an essentially angry place. Are not anger and hate volatile emotions that sweep through ones mind and remove logic coherent constructive and useful mental product?
    Our present day culture idolizes youth with its seeming good appearance, health, vitality, and endless potential and in the main shows little respect for those who through several more decades in life possess matured stable experiential wisdom. Something that when taken together is an intangible entity and hopefully a valued asset worth passing on. Its name is Legacy.
    When will this self destructive and reflexive anger ,typical of this age, become too tiresome as to be unsustainable, if our republic is to survive? Prolonged anger in the individual and multiplied exponentially across all segments within our culture threatens our democracy’s brand, its vitality and longevity. Angry senior’s with an audience from blog followers, Larry, send a message dripping with condescendence, entitlement, and lacking appropriate gratitude. America is and continues its greatness in the world, angry people such as Trump, Horist, and the MAGA like tribe to the contrary. Most Americans are proud to be Americans, and want the best for our country.
    Too much trust has been and is now awarded the many and various polling statistics that survey the relative few individuals and from those numbers attempt an assessment of what is and predict what will come. Anger is the fly in the pollsters’ ointment.
    Be that as it may.

    • larry Horist

      AC … I think you may be projecting. You describe me as an angry person and you essentially say I lie when I say I do not hate, but you do not know me at all. So, your opinion is your internal creation. If you harbor anger and hate, perhaps you cannot understand others who may not. I will set the record straights — although I know you will cling to your inaccurate opinions. It is human nature. I do not hate anyone. I can disagree with someone. i can disrespect what they do. I think Hamas terrorists are evil and should be held accountable by a just society — but that is not hatred. I do not like Biden’s policies, — and will speak out against them — but I do hate him. And he does not invoke anger in me.

      On the issue of anger, you are way off base. My family friends — who do know me — would tell you that I almost never get angry. I am even tempered and what you would call a very happy person. Disagreement does not have to be based on anger. I can get annoyed, but mostly at situations — not people. Like hate, anger takes a person to an emotionally dark place. It drives out happiness. I chose not to go there. And there is something that is important to understand. Nothing or no one can MAKE you or me angry or hateful. Both are emotional reactions that we create in yourselves. It is our choice to blow up or “feel” anger or not. So, no matter how YOU react to my writings and comments, you are totally off base if you think they are the product of hate or anger. I have been very blessed in life. I have no reason to be angry. I find that folks who think disagreement and debate must indicate hate or anger are reflecting how they personally deal with disagreement and debate. Some on here erroneously claim that I get upset by what they say — or even hope I do. Doesn’t happen. Even the constant mischaracterization of me by others on this site do not create anger in me in response since I know the truth. Your opinion about me operating from hate and anger is totally untrue — and is not all that important — so why should I get angry? You talk about how my statements impact on others. if they get angry, that is on them. I will not be dragged into negative emotions over such petty stuff. To be happy in life, i have told my children — in a turn of the phrase — “Don’t sweat the big stuff. It is easy to not sweat the small stuff.” If you can understand that, you will understand why i am not a hateful angry person. I do not write from anger and do not intend to be read with anger.

  8. JPop

    The anger will never end, because there to many people making a good living at constandly stirring the Hate pot( and unfortunately to man people willing swallow the bilge they peddle).