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Why Is Everyone So Angry?

From ten-year-old Marguerite, called Meg………..

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My Daddy watches the news.  All the time.  He watches it when he comes home from work at night before we sit down to dinner. (He works at a bank.)  He watches it before he goes to bed.  In the morning, the little TV in the kitchen plays the news while everyone is getting ready to go to work or school.

He likes newspapers, too.  I think I like it better when he reads the paper because then I don’t have to hear all the bad news running on in the background of my life.

MaeMae (my Mom) listens to public radio all day when we’re at school, so she keeps up pretty well with Daddy when it comes to current events.  Sometimes they argue.  About the news. Sometimes Daddy gets mad.  Sometimes he gets real mad and usually that’s when I feel kind of full and ask permission to leave the table.

My friend Ginny Moon watches the news, too.  It’s always on her computer at home and now that she’s got an iPad she reads CNN and Newsweek and stuff like that all the time.  You’d think she might drop dead or spontaneously combust if she didn’t know what was going on in the world every minute of the day.

Ginny tweets and texts breaking news to her friends even when nothing much is going on, like when she kept sending out the latest pictures of people from a research vessel off the coast of Nantucket catching and tagging a great white shark so they could track it by satellite.  Big deal, right?

Or another time she kept sending us stuff about how global warming and “ocean acidification” is threatening the orange clownfish in Australian waters, how the little guys are losing their hearing, their eyesight and smell, which was something people cared about even less than sharks.  It wasn’t exactly breaking news.  When I tried pointing this out to Ginny, she called me stupid and fat and slow.

She does that sometimes.  While shoving me around.  I don’t know why.  Most of the time we’re friends.  It seems to me that someone who can get so mad so fast can’t be a very happy person.  Like my Dad.  You know?

The other night while trying to fall asleep, I could hear the news coming from my parents’ room.  And for some reason, I just started wondering: why is everyone so angry?  I don’t want to sound naïve and it’s not like this stuff hasn’t been going on for thousands of years in one form or another, but all of a sudden I just couldn’t help wondering why it keeps going on and never seems to stop.

Arabs throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails at embassies, policemen firing tear gas back. The Chinese rioting against the Japanese over some tiny islands in the China Sea.  (Japanese workers are being warned by their companies to stay indoors.)  Afghan soldiers shooting American soldiers, who are supposed to be their friends. The Syrian conflict – uprising – civil war – whatever you want to call it.  Atrocities on both sides.  Rebels.  Insurgents.  Extremists.  Suicide bombers.  Darfur.  Price taggers on the West Bank.  Skinheads. Massacres.  Genocide.  Demonstrations and calls for a nationwide strike in India.  Occupy Wall Street. Immigrants here and immigrants there. Governments bombing their own people.
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Daddy says that some of it has to do with unemployment, with all these young males in the world who can’t find work and have nothing better to do than run outside and start throwing bricks.  But that doesn’t explain the Republicans and the Democrats.  Does it?

Did you hear that the current Congress will go on record as the least productive Congress in a generation?  They say it’s worse than the “do-nothing Congress”, which is what President Harry Truman called them back in 1948, which oddly enough, we just learned about in school.  (Maybe Miss Baylor was trying to make a point.)

At least we’re not throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails – yet – but people are pretty mad, mad as hell, and every once in awhile somebody armed to the teeth walks into a public place and opens fire.  I’d say that’s angry.

Culture wars.  Abortion, gay marriage, joblessness, too much government, not enough government, the 1%, the 47%, Tea Party, guns, taxes, rich and poor, creationism vs. evolution, God vs. atheists.  And a whole lot more. But I don’t have to tell you.  Just listen to the news.

Sometimes I get scared.  The other night, when I could hear the news coming from my parents’ room, I got really scared.  I could hear my Daddy yelling.  He wasn’t yelling at MaeMae, and he wasn’t yelling real loud, he just sounded angry, like he was trying to knock some sense into the television.

I get scared that the two halves of our country will never pull together and maybe one day we’ll just fall apart.  (Daddy says the only solution is for us to split up into two countries, like the Civil War never happened, which maybe it shouldn’t have, except for the slavery part, of course.)

I get scared that the whole rest of the word will just turn its back on us or support the terrorists or that Iran will go nuclear or that another war will come along and my brothers Jimmy, Joe and Tim will have to leave home and get killed.  And then it will just be me.

I get scared that the whole world is falling apart, with countries going bankrupt and people starving to death and little wars and killings all over the place.  And epidemics.  Don’t forget the super bugs and flus.  I get scared that people will stay so angry for so long that they do forget.  The super bugs and flus.

I’m afraid we’ll run out of Social Security and that I’ll be living out of dumpsters when I’m sixty-five and dying of all kinds of diseases because I can’t afford the drugs.  But what the hell, why worry about that?  We’ll probably run out of resources first and go extinct over some environmental disaster.  I do get scared that I may not live very long.  Sometimes I get scared that one of these days Daddy will get uncontrollably mad and hurt MaeMae.  And maybe even me.

The other night I started thinking about those clownfish in Australia losing their sight and their hearing and sense of smell. I started wondering how they’re going to take care of themselves if they can’t see, poor little guys, and all because we’re not paying enough attention to what we’re doing to the planet.

Now all of a sudden I can’t stop thinking about those clownfish going deaf and blind and every once in awhile I actually start crying because I get so sad I can hardly stand it.

And then I get mad.

Real mad.  Like I could throw a brick or two.  It would be a whole lot better than sitting alone in my room crying about some stupid clownfish in Australia.

clownfish

{Artwork by Barbara (Barney) Moravec}

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About Martha

Martha M Moravec is the author of the memoir Magnificent Obesity: My Search for Wellness, Voice and Meaning in the Second Half of Life, (Hatherleigh Press/Random House). She is also the author of two novels: an epic historical fantasy, The Secret Name of God; and a sci-fi eco-fable for young adults, The Odd Body Vanity Squad. Before committing to prose, she wrote the book and lyrics for five original full-length musicals, all of which were successfully produced in southern Vermont and Boston. Martha blogs at Mad Genius Bohemians about the mysteries of the creative life and the persistence of one's dreams. She also blogs at Magnificent Obesity about the hazards posed by anxiety, addiction, aging and agnosticism to personal growth and transformation. She can usually be found at home in Vermont working on her next seven novels, four novellas, second memoir and a sweeping revision of the five musicals. She is currently seeking further publication opportunities, a hundred more years and God.