Focusing the Outrage

If you’ve read my posts you know I’m no fan of Barack Obama, and that I have a distinct tendency to display copious amounts of Righteous Indignation.  There’s a reason for that, but there is always a danger in creating outrage fatigue, so today I’m going to try to help put it all into perspective.

Yes, there is indeed a method in my ranting.  If you read down to the end of my entry about Obama’s purge of anti-war delegates in California, the answer lies there.

Fortunately, this latest outrage by the Obama campaign has a somewhat happy ending; all of the delegates purged from California’s bloc seem to have been reinstated.

The people who got good and ticked off about this sorry spectacle didn’t just complain about what had happened to them, allowing resentment and disillusionment to fester; they allowed their anger to motivate them to do something about their situation.  Overnight, the Obama campaign offices in California were flooded with e-mails and messages undoubtedly left on voice mail, demanding that the delegates be reinstated or a reasonable explanation given for why they were removed.

In the end, having no explanation for the purge anyone would buy, the Obama campaign had no choice but to reinstate the delegates.  This is but one example of how righteous anger served to motivate people to apply the needed pressure on a politician to do the right thing.  Another for consideration is the defeat of Maryland Representative Al Wynn by Democratic primary challenger Donna Edwards.  His defeat sent a signal to one of the most stubborn Bush Dogs in the House, Iowa’s Leonard Boswell (and, by extension, all the so-called ‘Blue Dogs’): get with the program, or you’re next.

Boswell, facing his own primary challenge from Ed Fallon, belatedly signed on to efforts by fellow Democrat Robert Wexler to begin the impeachment process against the shrub and his gargoyle.  It is in response to voter anger, taken out at the polling locations, that got Boswell to pay attention to what his constituents are demanding.  Does anyone think an otherwise loyal Bush Dog would have changed his tune on impeachment if he hadn’t seen how strong voter resentment is, if the people hadn’t risen up and voted a bum out?

Finally, I give you this article from Black Agenda Report as proof of how Righteous Indignation served to get Barack Obama to reinstate his anti-war speech on his campaign web site in 2003.

After calls to Obama’s campaign office yielded no satisfactory answers, we published an article in the June 5, 2003 issue of Black Commentator effectively calling Barack Obama out. We drew attention to the disappearance of any indication that U.S. Senate candidate Obama opposed the Iraq war at all from his web site and public statements. We noted with consternation that the Democratic Leadership Council, the right wing Trojan Horse inside the Democratic party, had apparently vetted and approved Obama, naming him as one of its “100 to Watch” that season. This is what real journalists are supposed to do — fact check candidates, investigate the facts, tell the truth to audiences and hold the little clay feet of politicians and corporations to the fire.

Facing the possible erosion of his base among progressive Democrats in Illinois, Obama contacted us. We printed his response in Black Commentator’s June 19 issue and queried the candidate on three “bright line” issues that clearly distinguish between corporate-funded DLC Democrats and authentic progressives. We concluded the dialog by printing Obama’s response on June 26, 2003. For the convenience of our readers in 2007, all three of these articles can be found here.

The lesson to be learned here is that outrage, used as a motivator for action, works.  If Barack Obama can be made to do as the Progressive Movement dictates, so too can Hillary Clinton, and so therefore can Congress.  As Mickey Z. of Smirking Chimp points out:

How about some good old-fashioned anger, rage, and passion? (Che sez: “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.”) Let’s forget hope and aim for vision, clarity, strategy, courage, and finally: some goddamned results. “Creativity comes from trust,” sez Rita Mae Brown. “Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work” (as they say in South Florida: bingo).

So whenever you see a report about politicians preaching change but preserving the status quo behaving badly, don’t get discouraged, don’t get disillusioned, and above all, don’t give up.  Yes, get angry.  Get good and outraged.  Let that serve as your motivation to get up and do something about the evils visited upon us all by a corrupt system, force those we pay with our tax dollars to work for us.

If Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Barack Obama say or do something fundamentally stupid on the campaign trail, get a hold of your media outlets and demand that they report it.  Flood their offices with telephone calls, e-mails, and letters, until they pull their heads out of their asses.  If your representatives in Congress, in both the House and the Senate, pass bad legislation or look as though they’re going to, do likewise.  Better yet, in addition to that, gather about two or three dozen of your closest friends — the ones willing to get beaten up, tazered, sent to jail — and march on down to their offices and stage a sit-in.  Don’t let yourselves be corralled into “safe”, out of the way “free speech zones”.  Free speech doesn’t need zones, places kept well out of sight and earshot of the powerful.  Get up in their faces and make them pay attention to you, make them do as they’re told.  Remember, these people work for you — NOT the other way around.  And if all that doesn’t get them to pull their heads out of their asses, you can always pull together and get them voted out.

While we’re on the subject, there’s no reason why we cannot apply similar tactics to the corporate media.  Remember, these whores only report what is in their bosses’ best interests to report.  Unless we make the punditry report the truth, and on a regular basis, how is the rest of the nation to know what’s going on?  So yeah, send out those e-mails and telephone calls.  Put those postal delivery workers on a good weight-lifting routine with those bags they carry.

Do these things on a regular basis, and there may yet be cause for optimism about our country’s future.  Let your outrage be focused like a laser beam, and aim it squarely where it needs to be.


  1. I’m surprised this didn’t get more attention. Thanks for all the information, much of which I was not aware of.

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