In the Age of Rage

trio

 

The American voter is in a mood. I hink it started with that sleazy bank bailout after Wall Street gamblers crashed the global economy. Workers lost their jobs. Families lost their homes. Investors lost their pensions and savings. Iceland went broke…

You remember? It was a mess.

Then the government rewarded the crooks with a massive taxpayer bailout. Not a single banker went to jail.

To add insult to injury, the recovery from the Great Recession has meant unprecedented riches for Wall Street and not a dime for the hard working middle class.

And you wonder why the middle class is mad at the government?

Many are not just mad at the government but mad at the world. All the old resentments have surfaced, all the festering tribal grudges. All the old scabbed over wounds of history have been rubbed raw.

On top of violent economic upheaval, social change has been fast and furious. Illegal immigration… Same sex marriage… Abortion… Welfare… Gays in the military… Gun control… A black family in the White House…

This is the Age of Rage.

Not just rage but fear. Self-serving demagogues have exploited the threat of global terrorism, conjuring up the specter of hidden assassins disguised as friendly neighbors or pitiful refugees.

In such a climate, the saturnine visage of Ted Cruz emerges as a possible choice for President. Ugly, mean, spiteful Ted Cruz. His is the face of snarling rage, the face that defies any demand to be compassionate, fair or decent.

With the trio of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (above) emerging as the favorites in the Republican presidential primaries, all of the ugliness lurking beneath the surface of American society has come into plain view.

Still, America’s better angels have not left us. A 74-year-old New York Jew has emerged to carry their banner. Bernie Sanders is offering to translate the country’s rage into positive action. And he has struck a nerve.

Millions are rising to demand a new deal – progressive policies to counter the hate and spite of the radical right.

In such a contest, there may be no room for compromise, no middle ground. Republicans have rejected the reasonable conservatism of candidates like John Kasich. It remains to be seen whether Democrats will reject the common-sense statesmanship of brilliant but cautious Hillary Clinton.

This could be the dawning of  the Bernie Revolution.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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