Anger is good.
No, scratch that. Anger is good, healthy, natural, and, at times, even a salvation.
I’m not talking about the type of anger that makes you postal, has you clutch your heart and keel over, or that fills you with so much rage that you spit. I’m talking about the type of anger that fills you with purpose, gives focus to the undefined, and that empowers you.
Anger can find you in the center of darkness more quickly at times then the kindest words.
Sharon reads an essay by a “…impertinent little fucknozzle”, and exclaims with passion, “Shithead picked the wrong day to piss in my cornflakes.” I followed Sharon’s advice and sent an email comment about the essay, telling the publication that the author was “An impertinent little fucknozzle”. Let them work out the insult — I’m rallying to the cry of my friend who is angry!
Anger. It’s one of the seven deadly sins (along with sloth, lust, pride, greed, envy, and gluttony). Considered a sin, yet without anger humanity is nothing more than spiritless acquiescence. It fires the imagination as much as it fires our brains and hearts. Consider Shakespeare’s Othello:
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my waked wrath!
The anger that empowers one against injustice, hypocrisy, and ignorance can be no sin. Martin Luther King spoke of love and brotherhood, but it was anger that fueled the roots of the Civil Rights movement. It was anger that united a country against a war in Viet Nam.
And it was anger that pulled us out of despair after the events of September 11th, 2001.
However, as much as a healthy anger wakens us to purpose, an unhealthy anger pulls us into an obsession that can blind us to everything but the need to exterminate the target of our anger, regardless of the cost. In “Moby Dick”, it was obsessive anger that drove Ahab:
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.
Obsessive anger. Six months after an act of savagery that angered a world, I hope that in the midst of taking a moment to remember those who died from these acts that we also remember that meeting acts of obsessive anger with more acts of obsessive anger is not a fitting tribute, to anyone.