Every time I open my computer or check my phone, it seems like someone out there is begging me to be angry or just trying to feed off the fact my blood temperature is rising.
Picture yourself as a recruiter for a Fortune 500 company. Thousand dollar suit. Corner office. Clear blue skies, you just got a pay raise. Kids are getting good grades in school, and your marriage is cruising. You even went to bed early last night. Can you believe it?
Here I come applying for a job. I kick down your door with a gun and a massive Post-It note easel. I’m not here for a job.
Mainstream media has always been focused on the negative happenings in life. We can’t help but gravitate towards the train wrecks and the car crashes of the world. Maybe good news is just too passive for our taste — celebrating is not as “productive” as activism.
Maybe we’re just too cynical to believe an isolated good incident is any indication the world is a good place to exist in, especially when “but look, BAD NEWS” is plastered over everything.
There I am, standing in your office. Your once closed and upright door is now on the ground. Coworkers stop by to see what the commotion is all about, and they see me with an easel and a deadly weapon.
Slide one: “[INSERT COLOR] PEOPLE ARE TERRIBLE, LOOK AT WHAT THEY DID THIS TIME.”
Slide two: “DONALD TRUMP FUCKED UP AGAIN AND DID YOU KNOW HE’S OUR PRESIDENT? HOW?”
By now, 911 has been called. You’re mortified. I’m still there.
Slide three: “ARE YOU RECYCLING YOUR PLASTICS WRONG? YOU’RE CONTRIBUTING TO GLOBAL WARMING!”
Slide four: “LOOK AT THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE DOING HORRIBLE THINGS IN PUBLIC!”
You start sweating nervously as you remember you definitely forgot to put that bottle in the blue bin.
Slide five: “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE SOON AND THERE’S NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT.”
You can hear the elevator door opening and the S.W.A.T. team approaching.
Slide six: “LOOK AT ALL THESE FILTHY RICH PEOPLE DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR THE REALLY POOR PEOPLE!”
Slide seven: “THAT THING YOU’VE BEEN DOING? IT’S WRONG AND YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED.”
I’m violently tackled to the ground by heavily armored police, the slides somehow keep going.
Slide eight: “SEE THESE REALLY COOL ANIMALS? THEY WENT EXTINCT!”
Slide nine: “SEE WHAT CRIMES THIS GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTING THIS TIME!”
I’m handcuffed and being dragged out of the office. Your door is still on the ground.
What’s a hyperbole?
This is how I see mainstream media.
Over several months with nothing to do, I got sucked in. Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram stories were populated with political activists, social justice-ists and environmentalists, all trying to get a piece of the Lawrence angry pie.
[EVENT] + [EMOTION YOU SHOULD FEEL] = Headline.
Even TikTok of all places has been infested with videos telling others what’s okay and not okay. The level of social policing has risen to an all-time high — you know how we feel about the police.
I’m not here to discuss whether these articles or videos have any merit.
Education is a personal venture, and it’s important to stay informed on the topics relevant to you. But when those resources have less-than-the-best-interest-of-the-reader at hand…
I kept reading.
I started going to bed mad. I woke up mad. I showered mad. I eventually started looking for more stuff to get mad over because it was the only “productive” thing I felt like I could do socially distanced from the world.
I’d snap a lot more. Find myself arguing over nothing. Just so I could prove a point or get someone on my side of the fence.
In the bigger picture, though, I am a puny and insignificant asset to pretty much any cause. I don’t money or connections. The best I can do is call someone a “fucking idiot” in a Facebook comment.
Also, me retweeting something does nothing, contrary to popular belief.
There are a lot of awful events are going on right now, there is no question about it. A lot of progress should be getting made. A pandemic is going on. Entire states are on fire.
Anger should be a productive fuel, but not a destructive one. As much as I’d like to delete certain political leaders from existence or restructure entire infrastructures on a national level overnight, the realization that change is (unfortunately) a painfully slow process has led me to restructure my priorities.
“I’ll do what I can.”
It’s that easy folks.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk
Can’t have the UN impose sanctions against a country you condemn? Don’t get mad. Close the laptop, turn off your phone, and go try yelling over the fence at your nearest embassy. Does it do anything?
Good job, you have tried your best.
It’s not that I don’t care, but posting all over social media what you’re upset at or what you want others to rage over is not the only way of showing that you’re invested in the cause.
I remember reading the story about a family’s gender reveal party starting a blaze that consumed over 300,000 acres in California and Oregon.
The amount of rage-induced explosive payload that I wanted to [ONLY] metaphorically deliver to everyone present would have made even the United States’ military jealous. The amount of rage-induced fist payload I would deliver, however.
All in all, though my blood reached a steady 212F, there’s nothing I can do.
Politically, this is applicable as well. As much as I know many of you would like the other party’s voters to kiss asphalt at 100mph, there’s really only a handful of actions you can take:
Vote. Easy does it, just go check some boxes and boom, 0.0000000006% of the voter pool has been moved in your favor. Just do it.
Donate. Because money is the root of all evil, giving money to your organization will further its spending capabilities and therefore, reach a wider audience.
Join in the movement. Go to protests, go to meetups, show up, document, invite.
Have a productive conversation. That guy I called a “fucking idiot” on Facebook? Yeah, no. That’s not how you move forwards. In chess, we would call it a stalemate at best. Blind rage only hurts progress especially if you alienate the opposing side from the get-go.
So the next time you find yourself screaming “la la la” with your fingers in your ears as someone across you with a red hat with white text is howling a campaign slogan, take a moment to realize you are accomplishing nothing.
The less angry we are, the less on edge. The less on edge, the less stressed out. The less stressed, the happier we are. The happier, well, the better things turn out. Can you imagine if everybody in the world was just 15% happier?
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Unless you’re still thinking, “yes, but not THOSE people.” Then you’re the one that’s kicking down my office door with an easel and gun.