The Spill Makes Us Sad, the Moratorium Makes Us Mad
That’s it: This may be the simplest statement for the obstacle that progressives need to hurdle for there to be widespread public support for governmental intervention of many types. The question may be: do citizens prefer to be sad or mad?
I am reading Arlie Russell Hochschild’s STRANGER IN THEIR OWN LAND: Anger and Mouring on the American Right. On page 64, she reports that a woman with Tea Party leanings in Louisiana was trying to explain how she could be an environmentalist and upset about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill yet oppose President Obama’s oil well drilling moratorium. She uttered “The spill makes us sad, the moratorium makes us mad.”
I’ve heard similar thoughts, but not so clearly stated, about environmental policy and Earth Day since 1970. I bet the same is true for other issues such as the following:
1. Traffic accidents make us sad, banning cell phones while driving makes us mad.
2. Hungry children make us sad, providing school breakfast programs make us mad.
3. Global warming makes us sad, regulating greenhouse gases makes us mad.
4. Poor education makes us sad, increasing school funding makes us mad.
5. Diseased people make us sad, expanding health programs makes us mad.
Maybe is comes down to: do people prefer to be passively sad or actively mad?