Tim Bryce: Has Howard Beale’s moment finally arrived?

If Donald Trump contributed anything to the political process during this presidential election, he has called the American voter to arms over our dysfunctional government. People are mad as hell about such things as:

  • Lack of confidence in the economy and GDP;
  • Unemployment, part-time jobs, and sending jobs overseas;
  • Illegal immigration;
  • Declining morality;
  • Disrespect for law and order;
  • Political correctness;
  • Our Middle East policies;
  • Energy dependence;
  • An overbearing health care system;
  • Our general lack of leadership in the world;
  • Politicians more imbued with self-interests as opposed to their constituents;
  • And much more.

Week after week, the Rasmussen Polls tell us we believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Congressional approval ratings are incredibly low, and the president’s ratings haven’t been above 50 percent since 2012.

Voters are now expected to accept subservience to a bureaucratic government, a redistribution of wealth, to feel guilty about our religious faith, race and sexual orientation, and burdened by oppressive laws and social mores. We now believe we no longer live in the same country we lived in just six short years ago and we’re changing much too fast. It seems what is right is wrong, and what is wrong is right.

Our angst has gone well beyond being just irritated or perturbed, and blossomed into full anger. The fact Trump’s campaign, someone not from the political world, rocketed to first place is indicative of the anger and mistrust of our politicians. It’s beyond exasperating; it’s transforming.

Unlike the Civil War, which contested states rights versus federal, we now are faced with a reformation of the fundamental American way of life, and people don’t like it. The voters believe politicians are bought and sold to the highest bidder, and as such, no longer represent the best interests of the people. It should come as no surprise, they feel abused and taken for granted by politicians.

Americans are now at a boiling point. The political pundits and mass media are well aware of this wrath, but choose to do nothing because it makes great ratings.

It’s reminiscent of the 1976 movie, Network, where TV newscaster Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch) touches an American nerve by describing the problems of the country. But not knowing precisely how to solve them, he says, “All I know is that first you have got to get mad. You have got to say, ‘I am a human being, goddamn it! My life has value!’ So, I want you to get up now; I want all of you to get up out of your chairs; I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’”

In the movie, the producers of the TV show are surprised when they discover the public responds by doing just as Beale requests.

If a newscaster today asked people to do the same thing, I’m confident people would respond with the same vocal frustration expressed in the movie. It would be an interesting experiment to schedule a specific date and time where the nation would be asked to yell out their window, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

The media, of course, likely wouldn’t promote this concept because they prefer their control over the people, thereby making them impotent. They know full well that an aroused public is more inclined to become active and vote, thereby presenting a genuine threat to the status quo.

Let’s hope we find a new Howard Beale well before the next election.

Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and management consultant in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. For an audio link to this column, click here. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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