The thing about COD, I wrote, is not that people get outraged — that has always happened — but that people want to get outraged. I noticed it first from liberal friends who listened to Rush Limbaugh. Oh, how they would get worked up. “Why do you listen?” I would ask. Sometimes they would be defensive and say it makes sense to know what the other side is thinking, but mostly, they’d give me a blank look, as if I had asked a nonsensical question.
When I first wrote about COD, it was in a humorous vein. It makes you unpleasant, but it’s not fatal, I wrote.
I was wrong. How many heart attacks did COD cause as it swept through the country like a virus? It was highly contagious. If you hung around with COD sufferers, pretty soon you were one. You looked for opportunities to be outraged. Cable ratings and blood pressures soared.
The country had gone from watching reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” to watching Sean Hannity. Everybody who watched was outraged. Either with him or at him. The national mood went from being mildly sedated to wanting to storm the capital.
Hannity was not alone. He had doppelgängers on the left and counterparts on the right.
On a personal note, let me me pay quick homage to Laura Ingraham. I was blessed to be on her show. Actually, she was filling in for Bill O’Reilly. I was invited on the show to discuss a column I had written in which I suggested we could save money if we quit offering military funerals to all veterans. If you’re killed in a war, big funeral. But if you served two years and got out, you don’t need a military funeral.