I think I’ve figured out the appeal of the Tea Party and rabid talk show hosts to the over-50 crowd. One side effect of aging is a flattening out of emotions. Nothing is as exciting nor as devastating as it would have been 20 or 30 years ago. Some seniors welcome the freedom from the emotional roller coaster of the seven deadly sins—lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Others mourn the loss of passion—especially lust—which aging bodies just refuse to accommodate. Aging digestive tracts also react poorly to gluttony. Finances may limit participation in greed. Baggy butts, bellies, and boobs, not to mention multiple, saggy chins, destroy pride. Envy is such a negative. Who would admit to that? Sloth, we have, but excuse it as an effect of age and/or medications. And emotions like fear, sorrow and despair are just no fun, so that leaves wrath.
Anger can really get the corpuscles jumping and infuse a senior with the vigor of youth. And righteous anger is a positive—a necessity in the war between good and evil. Even Jesus expressed wrath as he chased the money changers from the temple. No wonder talk show hosts and cable news anchors make mega-millions. They have a huge, over-the-hill audience needing to have their emotions frothed to the point of feeling alive again, but below the point of doing something illegal, immoral or against doctors’ orders.
The dividing line between righteous anger and sinful anger, of course, is being sure you’re on the right side. Then anyone disagreeing with you is an enemy who deserves a vicious put-down. And how to tell if you’re on the right side? Find a media source who agrees with you such as Glenn Beck, on the right, or Keith Olbermann, on the left. They will not only tell you which social and political issues and persons to rail against, they will supply you with pet phrases to use when talking to those #@%#@ liberals or conservatives with different opinions. And being an obnoxious, angry senior citizen is risk-free. Geezers, like Spotted Owls, are a protected species. Socking even the most provoking old codger is a hate crime.