If you want to feel better in 2015, then hold onto those grudges for dear life
Give inner peace the finger and embrace your inner rage monster instead
You’ve lain back on a rubbery yoga mat and exhaled slowly in the hopes of transporting your astral self past a clutter of petty gripes and pedestrian resentments. The light rail commuter who sneezed on the back of your neck. The yuppie stiff who breezed through the door you held without acknowledging your existence. The barista who filled your paper cup to the brim with house regular, when you always order the Sumatran blend with room.
Even the Shavasana pose you’ve struck under the guidance of a lithe yogi with a man bun can’t calm the furies constricting your chest.
You can’t. Let it. Go.
We’re here to tell you—don’t bother.
Letting go is for quitters. It’s for human doormats and feckless politicians too timid to insist on things like justice or accountability. Because this much is clear: The asshole who cut his BMW into your lane without signaling suffers from the same moral decrepitude as the CIA suits who dreamed up rectal feeding.
And they both deserve the stiff-fingered bird.
Besides, whoever decided inner peace was the be-all, end-all goal of human existence clearly never experienced the belly warmth of a good, frothy rage. Being pissed off feels good. And, in these justice-indifferent times, it’s possibly the only satisfaction you’ll get. So, instead of passing another futile resolution to let the little things slide and “be a better person” (whatever that means), here are a few reasons you should get better at holding onto your anger. Ulcers be damned.
Transcendence is hard. We’ve tried letting go. It didn’t take. We remain pissy as ever, but now with an added layer of guilt for not attaining some lifestyle magazine’s idea of “enlightenment.” But maybe our mistake was in trying to overcome our base nature, rather than owning it. After all, what unifies the human experience more than dissatisfaction? It’s what propelled us out of the caves and keeps us trying to make a decent Spider-Man film. We are, at our core, miserable bastards. Or, as was written of that original curmudgeon, Lucifer, in Paradise Lost: “Horror and doubt distract / His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir / The hell within him; for within him Hell / He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell / One step, no more than from Himself, can fly / By change of place.”
Got that? Hell isn’t a place we go to, like Boca Raton. It’s something we carry within. Like herpes.
No one else is moving on. Take Sacramento. The arena, strong mayor, affordable housing—we pull at these scabs again and again regardless of what the research, votes or courts say. Our natural state is political intractability.
Outside these borders, the world is even less forgiving. Russia’s acting like a Cold War prick again; Israel and Palestine are merely taking a break from being at each other’s throats; and America just got pulled back into Iraq like an aging Michael Corleone. Everything old is new again, including a much-ballyhooed Clinton-Bush face-off in 2016. Even the stuff we’ve tried desperately to leave behind—like the CIA’s use of grotesque, ineffective torture techniques on terror suspects, some of whom were stone-cold innocent—won’t quit us.
Maybe the lesson is this: Until you let the truth have its day, there is no moving on. That’s a fire that has to burn itself out. Which brings us to the final reason:
Anger works. Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai are among the social-justice bosses who recognized the import of righteous indignation in getting shit done. You think equal rights movements budge without sustained outrage? Not likely.
Just this past year, SN&R applied pique and persistence in exposing the city of Sacramento’s wasteful approach to installing water meters and correcting the record about unfairly smeared late journalist Gary Webb.
If anything, it’s the absence of grudge warfare that leads to our biggest failures. Sen. Elizabeth Warren notwithstanding, the political unwillingness to prosecute the billionaire schmucks behind a global financial meltdown is paving the road to another fiscal catastrophe. Case in point: Wall Street banking interests recently spiked the “Cromnibus” spending bill with language that walked back financial reforms and campaign financing limits. Both houses passed it without blinking.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s insistence that the nation “woosa” past the damning torture revelations only ensures that the Ghost of Dick Cheney will haunt this nation for decades to come.
No, granting forgiveness without demanding change is like trying to survive an illegal police chokehold. After a while, you can’t breathe.
Stay angry, my friends.