Nothing in US History would have EVER changed if people had not been embittered, angry, upset & outraged at the status quo.
No Declaration of Independence.
Think the colonists weren't royally pissed off at the British and King George III? After the first couple of flowery paragraphs it's basically a long list of gripes & grievances against ol' Georgy Boy.
No Abolitionist Movement.
Think Frederick Douglass & William Lloyd Garrison & Wendell Phillips & John Brown were not OUTRAGED at the horrors & brutality of slavery?
No Emancipation of Slaves.
Think slaves just accepted their lot? In fact it wasn't Lincoln or the 13th Amendment - it was the slaves who freed the slaves (see Eric Foner, Ira Berlin, etc).
No Populist Movement.
Google "1892 Populist Party Platform" for some wonderful rhetoric of outrage!
No Progressive Movement.
Think Upton Sinclair was not outraged? Jane Addams? Emma Goldman?
No Labor Movement.
Think working people gracefully accepted being ground into the dust by the bosses every day of their lives?
No Vote for Women.
Think women were not embittered by their exclusion from the nation's political life?
No New Deal.
Think people weren't royally pissed off during the catastrophe of the Great Depression?
No Civil Rights Movement.
Think MLK was a "dreamer"? That SNCC came out of complacency with Jim Crow? The whole thing was born of nothing more than anger, outrage, embitterment, and HOPE.
No Vote for Black People.
Think it was white people's generosity of spirit that extended the right to vote to African Americans?
No Environmental Movement.
Think environmentalism emerged as a full-blown social movement from the 1970s to the present because people were not incensed about all the crud in the water, air, and earth?
(image from OPOL; message from Docudharma/link to be added)
This is a great post over at the "Silenced Majority Portal: for Informed comment, political humor, and the pursuit of fun." blog