All the Rage

The post-election rage continues. Some people are so worked up that they’re talking about secession.

Hoosiers are among residents of at least 33 states who have filed petitions on the White House web site advocating secession.

As of noon, more than 13,000 Hoosiers had signed the petition that asks that Indiana be allowed to “withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government.”

I know something about rage. I was raised in a rage-filled household and have the scars to prove it. During my adolescence, my internalized rage spewed out. Occasionally, my sense of social justice becomes so enflamed that I forget my vow to maintain civil discourse and can spew with the worst of them. But there is a difference between lapses in civility and unchecked rage.

Let me put it this way: garbage belongs in dumps, not in discourse. There’s a difference between momentarily losing control of the reins and dispensing with reins altogether. The First Amendment does not mean that free speech should be unrestrained; it just specifies who does the restraining. Self-regulation should be the rule.

So while all the rage seems to be all the rage, I refuse to get down in the muck. I may stray, but it’s my job to get back on track and own up to any mistakes made on the detour. I hear the bell, but it’s not a signal to go another round. Rather, it’s a call to focus on the tasks at hand. It’s pointless to entertain rage when there are children who are abused and starving. While any class remains oppressed, it’s ridiculous to fight over election results. Threatening the president might be funny on Facebook, but it’s disgusting and possibly criminal.

Tomorrow I’ll be flying to a conference for male survivors of abuse. I’ll meet Republicans and Democrats, gays and straights, old men and young men, and men from every other walk of life. But I’ll be focusing on our common ground: we are all survivors of abuse. We’re all battling those demons. Finding and maintaining that common ground is essential to healing and recovery. A community working together is more powerful than one survivor suffering in isolation.

Too bad society at large is too busy taking a pickaxe to the ground between us.