I was talking to an old friend this week, remembering a time when we were both much younger. It’s funny where the tendrils of nostalgia take you – I got to thinking about activism, about taking a stand, shouting your opinions from the rooftops and being generally angry with the world – are these all symptoms of youth or merely a state of mind that some choose to carry with them throughout their life?
Occasionally I encounter people who appear inexplicably angry. They seem to have unlimited depths of energy for assault-making on any given subject. Often these are inspiring people, folk who can jump on a soapbox at the drop of a billboard and spout forth knowledgeably about their subject of choice. They have an educated understanding of both sides of the argument and are happy to challenge and to be challenged, to exchange views and engage in intellectual debate. It’s one of the many reasons I used to love the Abbot and Portillo double act on This Week – completely opposing views respectfully presented by political opponents.
Of course there are the not-so-inspiring folk too. Those for whom opinions are weapons to wound and scar. People who use intimidation tactics and would sooner die that give away the last word, who don’t see the point in backing down – ever. The psychology student in me is intrigued by these people. I wonder how they manage to keep their anger reservoir topped up, where they stash their reserves of vitriol, if they ever have any ‘down-time’.
Is anger a pre requisite of youth? Are all young people angry? And, by definition, are all ‘people of mature age’ more mellow, more inclined to address both sides of an argument before passing judgment or opinion?
I’m not generally an angry person. I have a well defined sense of right and wrong and feel strongly about a variety of subjects, but often lack the vital ingredient to progress my opinions into activism. Then something comes along that requires my attention, a situation presents itself that needs people with energy and determination.
At the moment it’s the plans for the HS2. I’m opposed to the plans, I see it as a monumental waste of time. I simply don’t see why a country less that 900 miles long needs to spend in excess of £34 billion developing a train that can travel at 250mph. I get nauseous just thinking about seeing the cows go by at that speed. I will be affected by these plans, so will you and everyone else in this country. Half a million public sector worker jobs are being sacrificed through the spending review so that the Government can press on with their plans to spend this amount of money – and more, probably much more.
So, where are all the angry people? I need you. I have something you can really get your teeth in to…..