I often wonder about the purpose of blogs and political discourse in general. What is it for? Even more mysterious to me is the anger and polemic predisposition to events in the world. What does it mean to be so angrily predisposed? I must admit that the most strange creature of all in these affairs is myself. These questions are not pious things I ask from a distance, but, instead, an existential dilemma I must face: Why am I so mad? Who is this person I am mad at?
Regarding the all-too-predictable sides of left and right, I find myself in a precarious position: I am something of a conservative Leftist. But the point is that this is the way I find myself. I hardly know if that is really what I wanted to be in the first place (whatever “place” that is), or if it is what is best. Nonetheless, in the heat of battle, I am not so reflective—nor should I be. After all, I see little need for hand-wringing over things that seem to demand attention like politics does.
However, the state I find myself in before or after—and certainly in-between—political discussion is usually angry in someway. Anger is not itself wrong, it may even be the kind of thing that is not anger at all. I have always disagreed with the idea that love is never angry (depending, of course, on what we mean by ‘angry’). Still, the anger I experience is confusing to me. I wonder what it means. It is a sign of my righteousness? Is it a sign of my brokeness? Does it mean that I am alive and sentient? Does it mean that I am blind to the lives of others?
I do not know the answer to those questions. And even more confounding is that the questions themselves frustrate me and make me something like what I am describing here as ‘angry.’
Now, in general, I think we can ask the same question and wonder what it means for there to be an entire, giant web of discourse—and business!—that feeds from the scraps of anger. Would Fox News and MSNBC have a viewing public without their reciprocally indoctrinated and angry viewers? To go beyond anger, what would happen if anger remained but it had more than just two predictably polemic places to reside?
I think that the mark that we so often miss—myself first and foremost—is not primarily a matter of controlling our anger but of being more imaginative with it. Politics today suffers from an extreme lack of imagination. Whether it be an authentically Leftist or conservative view—both admirable and counter-cultural (against secular liberalism) views to have in my opinion—the point is that we have neither. Much less, we lack the sheer possibility of imagining something entirely different.
Anger is here to stay, and what it means will continue to be fleeting, but here is my most vulgar and simplistic reply to my question: What it means to be angry is to suffer from the fate of feeding on the bare scraps of this lack of imagination, and in that pain to cry out in agony and settle for more scraps.
The only thing I can find to relieve this daunting state of anger is the hope that I find in the sacred absurdity of the Cross that lacks neither imagination nor possibility.