This is Pastor Tim’s article from Nov 1 2021
I just finished a TIME Magazine article entitled “Why Everyone is so Rude Right Now” by Belinda Luscombe. The article was published on Oct 15, 2021. It was a lengthy article and I read it through a couple of times. I have to say that I actually agree with every point she made. I had never heard of her before and given that she maintains a place on staff at TIME tells me that she and I would probably not agree on much. But I agree with her conclusions here.
She wrote about the psychological trauma that we all went through with the COVID panic and shutdowns, the isolation of not seeing other people’s face and how disjointed that makes communicating, and she mentioned how many people have experienced a tremendous life change during the past 2 years. These factors have no doubt created a metric ton of anger in people and anger always finds a way to come out. You can not bottle it up forever. That displaced anger will explode out at people we perceive as beneath us. That is why waitresses, nurses, or other public servants become the target of the anger.
I have been in conversations with pastors over the past few weeks and they have told me the same story. In fact, I was in a pastor’s meeting not long ago where we were talking about people in our churches we had to call the police on. Clearly there is a problem going on here.
While I agree with what Luscombe had to say, I don’t think she carried it out far enough. Yes, displaced anger is without a doubt a factor, but I don’t know that it is the cause. Why are we so mad that we lash out at people who have nothing to do with what is really upsetting us?
I think what we are seeing is despair. We are a people who have lost hope. We look at our situation in the world and everything we hear in the media is dialed up to 11. Pick your topic, the rhetoric is just poisonous coming from both directions. One side of the aisle is telling us we are about to burn to death because of climate change, be shot by a crazed police officer or be overrun by an out-of-control billionaire. The other side of the aisle is telling us that teachers are indoctrinating our kids with bizarre attitudes about gender, the government wants to glue a mask to your face and lock you in a room for the rest of your life, or we are about to cancel police departments all together.
Literally none of those things are true and we need to ratchet down the accusations because this is where the anger is coming from. During the COVID shutdowns, we had nothing but time to take in media and we all did exactly the same thing. We all listened to media sources we agree with and ignored anything that didn’t fit our political bent. What that did is it took anything we disagreed on and polarized it because we no longer had people around us to hold us accountable. Any small division before COVID became a gapping divide after because we were no longer talking, we were just consuming. The more we consumed, the more we were set into our own ways to the point that we were so angry at the opposing side that we couldn’t wait to give them a piece of our mind. Anyone who did not agree with us became a candidate for destruction and that is exactly what has happened.
During the pandemic, I could silence anything I didn’t agree with by simply clicking to a new video or turning the channel. In real life, silencing debate is not so easy and since I have to experience something I may not 100% agree with for longer than the normal 7 seconds, I must destroy it because the persistent presence of what I oppose is an act of aggression.
I am curious as to whether or not you have observed this phenomenon. Are we becoming ruder as a culture? I hope not because no matter what else may be going on, this could be the worst development happening today and there is a lot of competition for that title.
No matter what else is happening, remember that the person in front of you is a person before they are anything else.