Tag Archives: establishment

Shit and Fan

In a confused world where bad people say good things and good people do bad things, can the population really be blamed for voting against the ‘status quo’, no they can’t. Will they pay the price, yes.

Short sentences and repetition seem to have been the victor, constantly announcing that one man can make America great again was enough. Policies, facts, methods, even the nobility of truth aren’t enough to disparage the downtrodden from following this simple rhetoric. The people voted not with what they knew but with what they could understand. Thats not to say that people are “stupid” or that an “IQ test should be taken before voting”, more so that world affairs have been made so complicated understanding it takes more time and dedication than the every day person can ‘afford’ to give.

People have become fearful of long words, complex sounding theories and side stepping, using twenty loosely associated words when one word, said with conviction and promise, would be enough. Perhaps its because people are tired of legal jargon that every new iTunes, email account and trending app brings. Add in being bombarded with constant meaningless acronyms that sound powerful but in reality are as exciting as writing lines after school. Maybe its because the internet has shortened our attention spans so much we expect information to spoon fed via infographics and floating captions in a three minute video. The news that tickles our gossip fancy or fuels our desires is forced into 140 characters to explain something as complicated as Kanye and Kim’s latest Hollywood movements so why can’t our politicians do the same for us, don’t they know we have work until five and then off to our night job at seven?

Popular socialists such as Bernie Sanders use a method of speaking that is more like your everyday person, down to earth, not fashionable, respectfully delivered and with the courage to stand by what they have said. But for every Bernie there is a Trump, every Ellen there is an Ann, every New York Times a Fox news, keep adding potatoes to that pan without checking the water and you’ve got a messy clean up job on your hands.

I can’t help but feel this is racially motivated and anti-establishment in equal measure. It sets a worrying precedent that has happened before in the most unspeakable way, at best a few angry fists thrown by tired, frustrated people, at worst we will be shot at by the very weapons we ship around the world in the quest for global democratic practice and market monopolies. A large swathe of Trumps supporters are guided by the “will of God”, ancient moral scriptures informing people where right and wrong sit; broken down conveniently into ten short sentences.

Another section of Trumps supporters are strongly behind their military, often taking the time to publicly pay respect and thanks. Branded, rightfully, as heroes and welcomed on their return, something soldiers historically missed out on by a movement of “love not hate”.

He managed to insult many of the core values these people hold dear, disrespecting the former soldiers and acting against the will of god, although it was with a woman so its somehow a lesser sin on the “deplorable” scale.

People were even happy to follow him though openly admitted they didn’t like his actions.

In some way the man on the telly wasn’t the man on the bus, the fraud audits, court papers, sun bed and even the lectern. Hateful words followed by half baked action plans won out because sections of this world need someone to blame, but that someone has to within reach. In all honesty we have seen it played out on the TV, it’s what the election debates have been muddied by from Trumps Triumph to Brexit. When offered an object to throw punches at people took it; tired of swinging blindly in the dark, they saw a symbolic punching bag and continued to drive five knuckles of sobering fury at it. Any sense of how much damage is being caused or what the bag is made of falls away because their anger is transferred into the imported leather they’ve been told has hurt their futures and family.

Today is not a day of victory. Trump didn’t win, the people didn’t win, the world will certainly not have won anything, it is a day of loss.

Hillary lost, the DNC lost, the stock market lost, the establishment lost, just like it did with Brexit and just as hoped by the many people who had nothing left to lose. Bernie supporters know this feeling and have little to say except “we told you so”, you were told not to follow the same old same old, told not to be the navy blue trouser suit when the people wanted red hats and one off politically enthusiastic birds looking for their moment. Instead navy blue trouser suits went high, but should’ve have gone low, deflected when they should have reflected and carried on being fed by the hand that squeezes us.

Of all the losses, societies empathy has been the hardest to watch fade. When people who would normally give the shirt off their back turn to racism and scapegoating it’s time to admit that the marriage isn’t working and it might be time to see a shrink.

My only hope is that after a period of conservative rule, UK and US, the true causes become clear and we can focus a collective conscience of better change for a more equal good. Until then lets build that wall, a “yuge” wall, some might say a ‘Great Wall’!

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Medicine for the ‘Immoral’

 

Can we decide who should and who shouldn’t receive a costly treatment based on their life choices?

I recently launched myself headlong into a debate about whether the PRep drug should be rolled out. A debate centred around NHS Englands decision to turn its back on the obligation to provide PRep to people who feel they may be at risk of contracting HIV. The murky water that lashed against the shores of sanity seemed to be sullied with discussions of morality and justification. The argument was predominantly broken into two categories; those that felt condoms were enough of a barrier and by choosing not to use them the risk is a burden they must shoulder. The others questioned whether it was right to deny those most at risk a safety net and whether it was right to hold back treatment of HIV because of perceived promiscuity.

I foolishly entered the debate feeling as though anyone in the ‘for’ camp had pitched their tent high on the moral slope, safe from the rising tide of archaic judgment and persecutory rip tides. Peering down into the gloom of archetypal people throwing moral missiles at unyielding, light footed knights of justice and equality. My only argument at first being that the high court ruling was not an outright support of gay men, but in fact support for anyone who was at risk from contracting HIV.

The next stage of my ‘gallantry’ is where it began to unravel. I charged head long at a gentlemen for his outright objection to supplying a costly drug when “Avastil” is underfunded and unavailable on the NHS. My arrogance was to believe that the ol’ boy had deep rooted anti-homosexual, anti-promiscuity theories that were ingrained from a life of attending church every Sunday like a righteous soldier of faith. I have long held the belief that people can harbour atrocious prejudices if they tell the good lord that they repent for kicking the dog on Friday because ‘er’ in doors’ hadn’t gotten dinner ready on time.

I had judged all of this from one simple sentence questioning whether the NHS could afford an expensive drug and what would be sacrificed.

I questioned the gentleman on his conviction that it was right to refuse the drug based on a theory that they were to blame for their ‘hedonistic’ lifestyle. To try and justify the cost over the saving of a life to me seemed as though a finite numeric value was being placed on the heads of red blooded people capable of good and bad in equal measure. I replied with many well meaning and forceful counters to these arguments, cutting through the injustice with a sword of salvation for the under represented.

This went on for a bit with many others chiming in to offer different tangents as to why this person could have so much courage of conviction when talking about who is more deserving. It was at this point I felt I was being a shit, this guy was so strongly holding onto his opinion that I had to justify why I had the right to tell him was wrong. I began to ‘pull my punches’ and re-write my counters several times, omitting personal jibes and character assassinations, replacing them instead with alternative perspectives and justifications outside of moral notions. Others rightly questioned whether all people that sacrifice their bodies to aggressive illnesses should be excluded also, the answer of course was not needed as it’s already happening and will do so for the foreseeable future.

I couldn’t wrap my liberal sensibilities around the idea that one person is more deserving than another simply because they have lived a life of “thou shalt not”. Could it really be so simple? Could we really ‘play god’ because someone has been good in a relative sense? It just didn’t make sense, a good person inevitably has bad traits so how can mere mortals decide who has the right to medicine based on moral judgments? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as it goes. He cast his stone I threw my intentionally noble, but actually inconsiderate boulder back.

I suddenly realised that what he was talking about was an emotional thought process. To know the name of a drug and its effects is one thing, but to be able to use that name so abruptly and flippantly can only come from experience. To ask the question of whether its right to deny one party for the appeasement of the other could come from bitter experience not deep seated prejudices as I had arrogantly assumed. I swiftly attempted to make amends by raising my thoughts on his experiences without brazenly casting aspersions, I had after all cast more than my fair share already. A small ping and a red square appeared, a simple like, nothing pretentious just a like. My apology had been received, whether it had been accepted I don’t know nor do I wish too, for as long as I don’t know I can’t absolve myself from the judgment I had cast on a person I didn’t know. I was instantly humbled and there I wish to stay for I am human, fallible, flawed and ultimately in-perfect just like everybody else.

I did ask one thing to the gentlemen, a favour I didn’t deserve but I had to deliver in the hope of easing the trouble for all concerned. How it was received again I don’t know. I asked him not to be angry with the humanly flawed people for whom the debate was aimed at, not to be so heavily focused on who is more deserving of relief, but to be more focused on who is eating more than their fair share of the preverbal pie, for they are the real hedonists.

Can we decide who gets respite based on their life choices? That was my question, futile, simplistic and greyer than a British summer. Ultimately a rhetoric question, ‘we’ don’t get to decide.

The decision will not be made under a veneer of moral debate, nor will it be made on whether the ends can justify the means. It will be made based on a series of numbers, to dull for easily bored minds it will be plotted into block coloured bars so as to make the numbers more palatable, the higher the number on the y axis the more likely it will be rolled out. While we naively debate lifestyle over injustice they will debate net versus gross, we will share experienced stories based on first person perspective, they will share a golf cart on Thursday at four, we will pontificate whilst they propagate. We spend more time fighting each other in a Facebook Thunder Dome, desperately trying to re-take control of our destiny than we do holding our erroneous emancipators to account.

When did the placement of a decimal point hold the key to salvations we all deserve? Money makes money, it doesn’t make the holder judge, jury and executioner. We are not inanimate secondary colours filling cascading rectangles on a bar graph, we are people, committed to making mistakes and learning from them, muddling our way through life trying to balance what is right and what is rewarding, sadly they don’t always symbiotically travel.