There it is. Americans are mad as hell and they are sending a message to both parties. It’s a hissy fit and sooner or later we have to get back to establishment politicians. Trumps supporters are angry at life in general. Bernie supporters are young kids who don’t know any better. That about captures it. And while there is an element of truth in it, it way over simplifies what is really going on and in doing that, misses the essence of important change.
Here is the typical both sides are angry rant from Jennifer Finley Boylan in her Op-Ed this morning in the NYT:
It’s the Year of the Angry Voter, and apparently it’s vitriol itself, rather than any particular strategy for the future, that’s propelling the electorate. “Our country is being run by incompetent people,” Donald J. Trump has said. “And I won’t be angry when we fix it, but until we fix it, I’m very, very angry.” Bernie Sanders is angry, too: “I am angry. The American people are angry.”
But, the implied narrative goes, we need to control our anger and get real about change, i.e., bring back Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Hmm. Did not the American Revolution come from anger at the British? Did not our Constitution come from anger between the states at the failure of the Articles of Confederation? Did not the freeing of the slaves come out of the anger that propelled us into Civil War? What about integration of the south or legalizing gay marriage? Sure anger can be a hissy fit, or it can be the result of deep seated frustrations that finally drive change.
Trumps supporters are really angry at the same thing as Bernie supporters, things are getting worse and nothing changes to redirect that slide. Granted Trump supporters want to do inane things like build a wall, blame immigrants, glower at your opponents which is all nonsense, but understand the anger. It is really feed by something the Republicans created along the way, and that is the denial of facts, data, and science, mixed in with racism and a failed conservative ideology that has never delivered. We are seeing an anger directed at others as though the basic Republican Trinity (small government, low taxes, little regulation) has not failed and in fact is realistic in today’s world when it is nonsense.
Bernie’s supporters are angry at something very similar, but they are seeing reality that tells them the system is rigged. And like their Republican counterparts, they see establishment candidates as part of the problem. But they don’t want to build unbuildable walls, hate all Muslims, bring back the Neocons, turn back social progress, or push a failed economic ideology even harder. They want to bring balance back into our economy by making it more fair. They want to reign in the financial markets, expand and make education afforable, provide healthcare as a right, raise the minimum wage and insure equal access for women, invest in our infrastructure, and deal with the threat of global warming. They are angry because the establishment sets these as far off goals and they know we can’t wait anymore. Get the difference?
The establishment on both sides of the partisan divide has failed to deliver. One failed because it adopted a failed ideology not practical in today’s world, trying to hard to hang on to the past that denies the reality of change. The other failed because it was too timid in challenging the nonsense of the other side. Staying in office became the primary goal, not standing up for values that could move us forward. Now those two establishments are being rejected for good reason. One side has never been rational, but the other side sees what is possible and is campaigning on it. If this is anger, so be it. First you must tear down the old system before you can build something that works.