Don’t Get Stuck on Angry

I remember a quote from a military general after Katrina, “Don’t get stuck on stupid.” That general portrayed a public persona of action and solutions to problems. While his real character was much less than desirable, his quote stuck with me because so many times people do get stuck on “stupid” and never solve problems, they just wallow in the problem without moving forward. Throughout my thirty years in education, I’ve seen plenty of that! In my opinion, most of them are politicians and a majority are Democrats. There are plenty of Republicans like that also.

However, I see a new trend with Conservatives. They are becoming stuck on angry. While I agree there’s much to be angry about, we can’t let ourselves stay in anger 24/7.

I understand the feelings. I get angry at so many things, particularly about the indoctrination and sexualization of children in the public schools. I’m furious when our elected officials refuse to listen. But if I stay in that emotion, I’ve noticed that I don’t get any change accomplished. There are many reasons.

Folks don’t like angry people. I don’t know if you noticed, but someone who is angry all the time doesn’t motivate people to join their cause. It might work for a bit, but after a while people get tired of the negativity and move on to someone who is focused on good solutions to problems. I’ve had people tell me that the reason Trump won in 2016 was because he was angry about what is going on in our country and stated that anger. That’s partially true. But if you look at Trump, you’ll see that he spent more time providing solutions than being angry. Most of the time he was focused on pointing out which actions were need, even if you look at his “mean Tweets.” Quite frankly, most of his Tweets were funny!

The angry candidate in 2016 was not Trump, it was Hillary. We see where that got her.

Anger is disorienting. I don’t know about you, but when I am angry, I don’t accomplish much. My mind becomes scattered, and I spin my mental wheels on things that don’t make a difference. Imagine what you feel like when you get road rage. When you get road rage, you throw common sense and control out the window. All of a sudden, you are following that guy who cut you off and violating all speed limits and traffic laws. This is why so many road rage incidents end up in violent confrontations. Certainly, no one is going to deal with you when you are angry. In fact, they will probably run in the other direction.

Angry people wear themselves out. When you get angry your body reacts chemically with adrenaline. Adrenaline is great at the beginning of a life-threatening event because it is the substance that allows you to focus and escape danger. But, if you keep that same level of anger going all the time, you will eventually run out of energy to do anything, much less work to correct a bad situation. It’s why athletes can’t play angry and last the entire game!

Anger is an emotion that needs to be displayed judiciously and at the correct time. It’s like managing a class of students. If you yell at them all the time, they tune you out. In fact, strategic silences and a lowered voice are much more effective. Timing is everything. When someone is just angry to be angry, it turns people off to their message.

And while we are talking about strategy, anger doesn’t help one be strategic. Imagine if Eisenhower, in his anger over fighting against Hitler in WWII, was unable to calm his mind and be strategic. Imagine if Patton, who was the decoy for D-Day, just got angry and blew the whole operation. We’d be speaking German.

When you’re angry all the time, everyone starts to look like the enemy, even your friends. Suddenly, no one is trustworthy. When that happens, you turn on friends and allies and start making them the brunt of your anger. You not only lose friends, but you lose credibility. During the last two years, I have seen so many people get stuck in angry and all of a sudden, they dislike and distrust everyone. They isolate themselves and insulate themselves. When someone is in that mode, no one wants to be around them much less work with them. And, just so you know, there have been times that applied to me.

Anger forces you to “other” people. This means that you start making assumptions about people based on surface issues. This is the “secret sauce” of every authoritarian tyrannical government. They get their population to start judging each other by labels and not by who the people are and all of a sudden, tyranny takes over. It’s called stereotyping and I’ve seen quite a bit of it lately. On both sides of the ideological fence.

When you “other” people, you never talk with them, listen to them, and they don’t do the same for you. When we can’t do that, we lose, tyrannical government wins. To be clear, you may talk with people, listen to them and still end up on opposite ends of issues. But when that happens, at least you tried. And you probably learned something valuable about them that you can use later.

So, why is this important this year?

It’s important because we not only have mid-terms coming up, but a long marathon stretch to 2024. The Biden regime is going to hit the accelerator after the November elections, regardless of results. If we think the first two years were bad, the next two years could be worse, even if there is a Red Wave. In Maryland, we could have a Governor who is an avowed Communist as shown by the policies in his campaign literature.

It’s important because we don’t want to become what the radical left is in the fight to overcome them. Notice that every time you see one of these Marxists, they look angry. They never talk to people; they shout and name call. They have a permanent case of “road rage” and “cancel” people they disagree with. The other night, I witnessed it first-hand in a “candidates forum.” Despite being asked not to, the Progressives in the crowd shouted down every viewpoint they didn’t like. It was disgusting. Add to that the utter disdain candidates showed regarding at least half of their constituents, and you have a recipe for tyranny. One who was particularly troubling was the youngest candidate on the dais, who seemed to think she knew it all and those who didn’t accept her views were stupid. She needed more humility and less snark. Can you imagine how she will treat people if she has power?

Problem is, I am seeing more Conservatives take this same tactic. I agree that we have to be aware of what is going on, be engaged and be ready to fight. But we have to start from a place of common sense, of stating facts, of fighting with solutions. It’s the only way that we can win long term. Constant anger won’t work. We have to show ourselves as strong, humble AND civil.

So, what can we do if we are angry and want change?

Dan Andros of FAITHWIRE gave some suggestions. Here are some of his ideas and mine:

  1. Let your anger be the spark for your action, but not the total plan.
  2. Stay away from people who live in anger. Ally yourself with action-oriented people who want to positively solve problems.
  3. Don’t sink to the tactics of the left. Remain calm when they goad you, call you names, or accuse you of wrongdoing. Use facts and reason.
  4. Allow people to have different opinions. Listen. You don’t have to give up your beliefs just because you listen.
  5. Don’t dismiss and stereotype people on surface characteristics.
  6. Pray each and every day for the strength to do what is right.
  7. Be a role model for others in how to act and react.
  8. Be kind to yourself and your friends. Period.
  9. Don’t be afraid to let toxic people out of your life. It’s not easy, but sometimes it is what’s best for everyone.
  10. Use your anger judiciously. It’s like salt, if you use it too much it ruins the dish. Be strategic.

People say to me all the time,” Jesus was angry at the cheating money changers at the temple and overturned tables and cleared the temple with a whip.” It was definitely righteous anger and He displayed it. But He spent most of his life trying to convince people through his kindness and forgiveness. He didn’t live in anger.

We have to try to do the same. It’s hard. It’s a challenge for me every day.

I’ll get there.

James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” God’s way of dealing with anger is to be slow to anger.

” In your anger do not sin.” -Ephesians 4:26

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I am a 67 year old runner and conservative. I taught for 31 years and retired a few years back. In my life, I have coached and judged gymnastics, coached softball, and raised two amazing kids.

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