I saw this article on BBC’s web site about how liberals and conservatives in the United States have differing reactions to positive and negative images. Conservatives tended to focus on, and have stronger reactions to, negative images than did liberals.
Coincidentally, a couple weeks ago a long-time friend sent an email to numerous people in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. I don’t recall ever getting an unsolicited email from him about politics in the 15 years I’ve known him. But it certainly was a rant.
Consider the emotions in some of the words and phrases from his email:
- “A brutally complex issue reduced to a nonsense issue”
- “I want to barf”
- “…it is the duty of everyone to work for his defeat in November”
- “A 2nd Obama term, totally untethered from public opinion will be a total disaster. I hope all of you can take some role in ensuring his defeat in November”
Which drew the following response from someone else:
- “If we are now outnumbered by liberals, democrats with limited brain functionality, union workers, the uneducated, and young voters, then the chances are very real that the current “President” could win a second term”
- “And if that happens, then the chances are very real for a second American Revolution – this time against our own Congress, which has nearly completely caved in and lost its backbone”
- “If we do win, however, I believe we need to somehow change our system permanently so that Congress DOES WHAT WE SAY TO DO and nothing else, or we will vigorously prosecute them and send them to prison”
- “I fear the continued existence of the USA is in doubt if we don’t! One answer is to decentralize our Federal government and send our representatives and senators back to the states, where they are closer to home and we can watch them more closely. Please think hard about this”
Subjectively, it seems like a pattern. Something has changed for these persons, and probably not for the better. Is it the stagnation of real income growth in the middle class? The unrelenting pace of change driven by globalization and the strains of keeping pace? I won’t speculate other than to say that these are very strong emotions, which begs the question why?