American outrage is getting a bit out of hand. One one hand we have the President of Chick-Fil-A making a comment about his objection to Gay marriage and the company's donations which agree with his rejection. It was a statement meant to play to the “home-team crowd,” was hurtful to a great many people, and is a great example as to why corporations should not be considered people and not have the ability to donate to political campaigns. Yet, the backlash is extreme. People righteously declared being done with Chick-Fil-A, politicians have promised to bar the corporation from opening franchises in their cities, and gay rights groups are calling for a “kiss-in” at Chick-Fil-A locations. Equally strong are the calls to patronize Chick-Fil-A's in defense of freedom of religion and speech. Now look, the kiss-in could actually be a really clever way of publicly commenting on the hurtful statements, provided it was done subtly. I've seen couples come in and smooch at Chick-Fil-A before – they weren't making out or anything, just a quick kiss – and if a series of gay an lesbian couples came into Chick-Fil-A and did that it would be a great protest. The problem is, I don't foresee that happening, because the only emotion Americans seem to have left in the tank, is outrage.
Outrage like the kind being sown among conservstives right now because “Obama said I didn't build my own business!” It doesn't matter if that accusation isn't even true, because Americans want an outlet for our anger and we'll snatch anything which will give it to us. We get outraged by companies, we are infuriated by political opponents, we show hostility toward political allies, we see red at our sports teams. Listen to sports talk radio, regular talk radio, or listen to some “confession cam” diatribes from a reality show (or read the tweets about said diatribes) and you'll see – we are an outraged nation. Our emotional well is out of expressions of grace, personality humility, and joy. The culture warriors all claim they are fighting for rights, or tradition, or for the soul of the country. What they are really doing is arguing over who gets to wear the white hats and who has to wear the black hats – because they've never stopped playing “Cowboys and Indians*.”
There is a time for righteous outrage, there really is. The problem is when we go there for every transgression, the outrage is no longer shocking and bone-jarring, it's toxic. It's toxic because we lose we lose the ability to respond to people with any sense if emotional range. Every response to even the slightest provocation immediately procedes to scorched Earth mode. The bitterness such an approach leaves behind is truly terrible.
Here's the the thing, folks. I'm exhausted by the calls of left/right/middle/Christian/Athiest/Muslim people to join them in outrage. I can't take it any more. I can't take outrsges attacks on other people's beliefs (hidden in a veneer of smugness). I can't take the outraged reaction to an outrageous offense. I can't take the outraged response to the outraged reaction. It's too much, and it's tearing the entire fabric of this society to pieces.
Look, I don't care if you don't want to go to Chick-Fil-A anymore, or if you plan to vote for Mitt Romney. Just make sure when you come to those decisions, and express them to others, they come from a well deeper than the emotion of outrage. We'll all be better for it.
* If you are tempted to point out that's offensive, you have completely missed the point.