Friday, December 21, 2012

We Need Some More Anger


Mark Lilla is correct in his observations.  We could use some more anger.  Justice might be served by our angry protests.
[In India] theirs is a democratic anger.  There is, I’m told, a background to all this: frustration with rising crime rates, especially in Delhi, rampant police corruption and arbitrariness, and the pettiness of parliamentary politics when India faces significant domestic challenges. But whatever fuel was there to be sparked, it is bracing to see people take to the streets, not to defend narrow interests or ideological obsessions, but to defend the public good. The land of Gandhi has not lost its willingness to mobilize and put pressure on those in authority, even when it sometimes makes the country nearly ungovernable. The same cannot be said of the land of Martin Luther King. I would be surprised to learn on my return that a mass demonstration is being planned on the Washington Mall; that’s no longer how we deal with issues like this. We light candles, we hug (lots of hugging on CNN), we pray. We triple-lock ourselves into our homes or gated communities, accompany our kids to schools they could easily walk to, and load them down with helmets, and knee and elbow pads, before taking a bike ride. Yet when they do manage to get out, they find themselves in places where adults openly display their handguns in holsters. 
Save the children? No, we prefer to mourn them. We are as resigned to the status quo as thesadhus of Benares are to the cycle of birth and death before they reach moksha. Contemporary Indians apparently have a very different idea of what it means to be a citizen.
Citizenry demands our righteous indignation.

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