You’ve gotten viral email like this. The vertical bars in the left margin signify that it has been copied and forwarded at least eight times. It resonated with many people who wanted to share it with their friends because it says something they wish everyone got and understood. I’m posting it because it reveals a lot about how Donald Trump won the hearts and minds of so many who venerate the “Angry Man” in America. (Don’t trouble to read the tiny print of the image, I’ve quoted it all below.)
Here’s what the viral email says:
The Angry Man Has Spoken
For all the interest groups pandering that shapes modern American politics, the group that may well have decided the election has come down to the demographic of “The Angry Man.”
The Angry Man is difficult to stereotype. He comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from sophisticated urbanite to rural redneck, Deep South to Yankee North, Left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.
No matter where he’s from, Angry Men share many common traits; they aren’t asking for anything from anyone other than the promise to be able to make their own way on a level playing field. In many cases, they are independent businessmen and employ several people. They pay more than their share of taxes and they work hard. Damn hard, for what they have and intend to keep.
He’s used to picking up the tab, whether it’s the Christmas party for the employees at his company, three sets of braces, college educations or a beautiful wedding or two. Not because he was forced to, but because it’s the right thing to do.
The Angry Man believes the Constitution should be interpreted as it was written. It is not as a “living document” open to the whims and vagaries of appointed judges and political winds.
The Angry Man owns firearms, and he’s willing to pick up a gun and use it in defense of his home, his country and his family. He is willing to lay down his life to defend the freedom and safety of others, and the thought of killing someone if necessary to achieve those goals gives him only momentary pause.
The Angry Man is not, and never will be, a victim. Nobody like him drowned in Hurricane Katrina. He got his people together and got the hell out. Then, he went back in to rescue those who needed help or were too stupid to help themselves in the first place. He was selfless in this, just as often a civilian as a police officer, a National Guard soldier or a volunteer firefighter. Victim hood syndrome buzzwords; “disenfranchised,” “marginalized” and “voiceless” don’t resonate with The Angry Man. “Press ‘one’ for English” is a curse-word to him.
His last name, his race and his religion don’t matter. His ancestry might be Italian, English, African, Polish, German, Slavic, Irish, Russian, Hispanic or any of a hundred others. What does matter is that he considers himself in every way to be an American. He is proud of this country and thinks that if you aren’t, you are whole-heartedly encouraged to find one that suits you and move there.
The Angry Man is usually a man’s man. The kind of guy who likes to play poker, watch football, go hunting, play golf, maintain his own vehicles and build things. He coaches kid’s baseball, soccer and football and doesn’t ask for a penny. He’s the kind of guy who can put an addition on his house with a couple of friends, drill an oil well, design a factory or work the land. He can fill a train with 100,000 tons of coal and get it to the power plant so that you can keep the lights on while never knowing everything it took to do that. The Angry Man is the backbone of this country.
He’s not racist, but is truly disappointed and annoyed, when people exhibit behavior that typifies the worst stereotypes of their ethnicity. He’s willing to give everybody a fair chance if they’re willing to work hard and play by the rules. He expects other people to do the same. Above all, he has integrity in everything he does.
The Angry Man votes, and he loathes the dysfunction now rampant in government. It’s the victim groups being pandered to and the “poor me” attitude that they represent. The inability of politicians to give a straight answer to an honest question. The tax dollars that are given to people who simply don’t want to do anything for themselves. The fact that, because of very real consequences, he must stay within a budget but for some obscure reason the government he finances doesn’t. Mostly, it’s the blatantly arrogant attitude displayed implying that we are too stupid to run our own lives and only people in government are smart enough to do that.
The Angry Man has reached his limit. When a social justice agitator goes on TV, leading some rally for Black Lives Matter, safe spaces or other such nonsense, he may bite his tongue but, he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.
But when government officials are repeatedly caught red-handed breaking the law and getting off scot-free, The Angry Man balls-up his fists and readies himself for the coming fight. He knows that this fight, will be a live or die situation, so he prepares fully. Make no mistake, this is a fight in which he is not willing to lose and he will never give up.
Obama calls him a Clinger.
Hillary Calls him Deplorable.
Bill calls him Redneck.
Feminists calls him Sexist.
ISIS calls him an Infidel.
Donald Trump calls him an American.
This is a well-crafted piece. I had no trouble seeing myself and my friends in the manly blue-collar virtues it extols: the entrepreneurial I can do it spirit, the simple generosity of picking up the check, the individualistic self-reliant spirit, the ethic of hard work, the respect for integrity — all these values resonate with my own. I’ve been there and done that. I’m nodding my head in agreement as I read.
Of course there is no acknowledgment of the broad foundation that invisibly supports Angry Man. The economy and rule of law that encourages and protects his success through hard work and assures that he is paid for it. Nor is there any recognition that the “level playing field” he desires and enjoys is not equally accessible to all Americans. He was born on second or third base. Others have to face a formidable pitcher and may not get to first. Angry Man is blind to that inequity. Or, he believes his forebears put him in his advantaged position and he’s entitled to it by birthright.
In the fourth paragraph the “guns and guts” image is evoked. Our “Angry Man” is armed, brave, and capable of lethal force if provoked. Like the frontiersman of legend, he is peaceable but don’t provoke him. He will defend his little home on the prairie with ferocity.
The bit about the US Constitution is a pitch for guarding the status quo, and Angry Man is against courts interpreting it differently than it was in the past, even [or especially] when the court confronts certain previously accepted inequities.
The paragraph on government dysfunction implies that devious politicians steal money from Angry Man and redistribute it to the lazy shiftless poor. That is an accurate reflection of a common misperception, but it is not a reality. Anyone who has first-hand experience with food banks, homeless shelters, and other welfare knows people don’t end up in poverty because of laziness and lack of ambition — its much more complicated than that. Real world statistics validate personal observation.
As we read on the tone shifts to outrage. Angry Man can’t fathom why his government “for some obscure reason” can’t stay within a budget in the same way that he does in his personal affairs. In truth, it’s not unfathomable. But Angry Man can’t be bothered to grapple with the facts, and the writer of this piece doesn’t want him to. It’s useful to let Angry Man believe that his taxes are too high and are squandered on welfare. The reality that it’s debt service, military spending, and pensions that eat up his taxes and increase debt doesn’t support the argument the anonymous writer wants to make.
In the paragraph about some “social justice agitator” the writer dismisses any consideration of the white male privilege that put Angry Man on second base. The writer doesn’t want us to go there.
At this place in the narrative the writer has set the stage for his leap to outrage. Angry man has “reached his limit.” He balls up his fists and prepares to fight in righteous rage. Who will he fight? The writer provides a short list, none of whom are actually the cause for his rage. And Donald Trump is presented as the only one who recognizes Angry Man for disrespected but patriotic American that he is. Trump is his voice. End of story.
Wow! The problem here is that rage is unfocused and irrational. So when Angry Man doesn’t know who to fight, the writer simply awakens his simmering rage and points. Angry man never looks back, he charges into the fray.
What Can We Learn from This?
When we encounter this sort of writing (or oratory) it’s important to examine purpose. What was the aim of the writer in creating this piece? To answer this question, first read it and reflect on your mood as your read. What emotions are triggered? Odd are the piece was created to evoke that response.
In this case the writing rouses and reinforces blind rage and targets it at Trump’s opposition. The writer skirts giving any actual justification for the inference that celebrated liberals and/or ISIS are to blame for Angry Man’s outrage.
This is not a fact-based piece. It’s a story narrative crafted for its emotional impact. The intent is to promote Trump and smear his political rivals.
The writer knows that direct comparison of the character and actions of Trump and his rivals would not be favorable. Trump has actually stiffed and exploited many individual blue collar people like Angry Man. Nothing in his life shows him to be a champion of hard work, integrity, generosity, or any of the blue collar virtues. But he does speak to the grievances that Angry Man feels. So the story is effective not because it informs with authentic facts, but because it says Trump sees and honors who Angry Man is, and the others don’t.
Those who read the Angry Man story liked it because it accurately pictured their experience – it rings true for them. Reality is irrelevant.
Therein lies both insight and our problem. For Angry Man perception is reality. That knowledge gives an agitator great power to play his listeners.