Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

I’m Angry, Damn It! But Why?

Men should strive to think much and know little. Democritus

I know it doesn’t show, but I’m a pretty opinionated person. Okay, stop laughing. I mean it. Can’t you see? I’m stamping my size 6s? And I’ve got my hands on my hips in that all knowing school principle sort of way I’m prone to sometimes. 

If there’s something I feel or think, I’m likely going to share it with you, whether I’m asked to or not. Okay, I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know about me. You’ve likely heard an earful in the past.

Blame this need to voice my opinion on my family, our Greek roots, and our argumentative nature. I grew up debating issues of politics, history, religion, and the state of the world. Having an opinion, even about the smallest matter, is so engrained I can’t change it even if I wanted to. And believe me sometimes I do.

Some of the best conversations I’ve had have involved a passionate exchange of ideas and thoughts. These conversations are respectful, engaging, and I usually walk away feeling I’ve learned something. Good debate leaves both parties better for having had the discussion. Or at least that’s, you know, my opinion.

Of late though, I find myself becoming testier when I’m trying to make a point. It feels as though I’m driven to get my views across at any cost.

Listening? What’s that? I know. It’s important to me too, but it doesn’t feel as though I’ve done much of it lately. I’m not sure why this is happening. Maybe I don’t feel I’m being heard. Perhaps I desperately want to make a difference and feel stifled at every turn. Or then again, I could be angry about something completely unrelated. Whatever it is, I don’t like my behaviour. Not one bit.

I’m acting too much like some of those people who engage in politics these days. You know the ones. They call themselves politicians.

Just last week we had the uproar between Stephen Harper’s office and musician Neil Young over the Alberta oil sands. In the airtime battle for attention, neither the Prime Minister nor Mr. Young added much valuable information to the topic (at least not enough for the general public to weigh in with their own views). I don’t like this over the top display of muscle flexing, because in all the rhetoric it is hard to determine what is real. And when you dilute issues with noise, finger pointing, slight of hand tricks, or muzzling as our government is inclined to do, you basically mask the very things we need to care about and debate.  

And don’t get me started on the Prime Minister’s speech in the Knesset the other day. Since when did we start taking sides in the Middle East and why is our government too cowardly to speak up against the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem? Canadian policy on this matter is clear; yet our government likes to thwart it whenever it can, pretend with their tight-lipped smiles that it doesn’t exist. No wonder I’m angry. But I digress.

My point is: without healthy, respectful, honest debate, there is no freedom.  And we see that in spades with this government. Oops, my opinions are showing again.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. She’s just telling us what she thinks again. Yup, I am. That’s my point. I can’t seem to stop myself. And what’s worse, I’m no closer to figuring out what’s making me so fervent these days. I should use this ire productively.  Others have been driven by their anger to create new businesses and find solutions to age-old problems. Perhaps I should put all this pent up energy of mine into something constructive. But unless I know what’s got me so riled, how can I hope to stop inflicting my opinions on others?

I want to shout, look I just care about everything that’s going on in the world. I care deeply. Maybe too much. Perhaps that is the root of my rage. I care and I feel stymied to do anything about it. Is that it? I don’t know. I’m simply pondering and pounding the keyboard as I consider these thoughts.

Maybe I need to do more thinking. Then again, maybe I’m doing too much. Perhaps I should be satisfied as Democritus says: to know little. I mean, let’s face it, what do I really understand about what makes me tick.  Don’t answer that question.

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