It’s telling that the quote included in the opening sentence of this commentary comes from the classic-American film, Network, produced all the way back in 1976. In the film’s famous monologue, its protagonist — a ranting TV anchor turned prime-time cultural evangelist named Howard Beale — delivers a deranged and scathing assessment of modern American life: “Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or losing their job…and there’s nobody out there who seems to know what to do, and there is no end to it”. The rant finally ends with Beale imploring his viewership to go to their windows and scream “I’m mad as hell and I am not doing to take this anymore!”
Though the cultural context of the film was vastly different to that of 2016 America, the voting members of the American public proved they felt the same. After 9 years of what must have felt like empty promises from the political elite about an economic recovery that never trickled down to the middle class, America’s silent majority finally cracked and spewed forth into mainstream society. They were sick of society’s rich getting richer thanks to policies that didn’t seem to be designed to help them; and they were tired of that the members of the supposed elite class were shipping off their jobs — to workers in some foreign nation, no less, and all in the name of saving a buck at their expense.
It was these set of circumstances — which have been grossly simplified here, of course — that galvanised a significant sub-section of American society to scream at the ballot box in November 2016 “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”. Though in our reality, it was not a psychotic T.V. anchor