Living in a world where good news is hard to find can lead to a feeling of frustration. At some level, most rational humans recognize that tough times are part of life. In our personal lives we overcome our frustration by looking for the positive amongst the negative, you know the rose in spite of the thorns. We smile at puddle jumping kids, fuzzy kittens and babies. We take heart that our frustrations are temporary, knowing fully well that the negative will make the positive seem all the sweeter when it comes.
War, recession and disease can adversely affect the levels of individual frustration spurring the growth of collective frustration. Collective frustration can then lead to action. The American Revolution is a case of collective frustration turned to action. Where collective frustration differs slightly from individual frustration is in the constant build up due to media coverage.
In a household, it does not benefit the members to harp on what cannot be changed or changed quickly. A wise family soon learns to downplay the negative and highlight the positive. Sadly this wisdom is not present in the collective populous, at least not today. While many would like to blame the media for the escalating the levels of public frustration, the truth is they are a creature that must be fed by others. Corporations, lobbyists and yes, politicians feed the media beast. In some cases the media is fat on the information being fed to them by those with an agenda, and in other cases they have become scavengers searching for tasty morsels dropped unintentionally by those in the limelight. The public becomes the hungry chicks awaiting the food and keeping the demand high. Regardless of how the media obtains their food, their information is the result of the attitudes and desires of those seeking fame, fortune or power.
With each negative story, the collective frustration grows. Soon with pitchforks in hand, a mob forms looking to take action. In 2008, frustration due to war and recession led many to vote for a change, but opposition to the voice of change was great. Whether due to political affiliation, ideology, or chance of birth, rather than being a symbol of hope, the president became a symbol of division. Even within his own party, unity was not achieved and hope diminished. This led to a rally of frustration in 2010. Sadly, hope was not the objective of this rally, and more frustration was the result.
Now as we approach a new presidential election, frustration is boiling over as can be seen in the Chick-fil-a controversy. Boycotting or supporting Chick-fil-a allows the frustrated populous a way to expend their frustration, and as long as the pitchforks are left at home, no lasting harm will be done. Some will argue this point saying there will be an economic impact on the franchise, but it is just as likely to be a positive one as to be a negative one. When the rallies are over, maybe those mobilizing to protest or support Chick-fil-a will feel better, feel a sense of action and accomplishment when the day is done. Hopefully this will allow them to feel they have been part of a positive movement. Maybe they will again be able to find the beautiful rose and not just the painful thorns. The pot of public frustration might then return to a simmer rather than a boil.