Burned Out on Outrage: Don’t Let Despair Triumph

Ian Mitroff
3 min readFeb 21, 2024

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.

Unsurprisingly, a front-page article in The New York Times by Katie Glueck and an Op-Ed by Paul Krugman touch on the same themes[i].

According to Ms. Glueck, although though many voters say that they oppose Trump vehemently, they are burned out with all the justifiable outrage he’s earned thereby affecting whether they’ll vote at all. For Mr. Krugman, the prime issue is that of blaming sitting Presidents for whatever goes wrong even if he or she has almost no control over them, thereby weakening their chances for re-election.

Accordingly, people are just plain exhausted. At the same time, Democratic pollsters say that “no one is more motivating or terrifying to their voters than Mr. Trump”. And, bolstered by last week’s special elections, many believe that voters will become increasingly engaged as election season proceeds. In addition, as Trump has become more and more outrageous, he damages his cause.

For Krugman, with the Economy improving, the focus has shifted to Immigration. In a depressing note, he writes:

“…Republicans, following instructions from Trump, killed their own bill. They didn’t even try to hide the cynicism: They’d rather see a border in crisis than help fix the problem, because they believe this will benefit them politically.”

In these troubling times, it’s all to easy to fall into despair. Trump represents everything that’s out of control. He’s a supreme con man that has fueled people’s undying fantasies of being on top. He’s nothing less than a two-year old playing King of the Hill.

Grow up America and see Reality for what it is, a serious problem for grown-ups, not a child-hood fantasy to be wished away.

[i] Katie Glueck, “Fighting Trump, Some Voters Are ‘Burned Out on Outrage’”, The New York Times, Tuesday, February 20, 2024, PP A1 and A13; Paul Krugman, “Long Island and the Limits of Sabotage,” The New York Times, Tuesday, Febuary 20, 2024, P A18.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash