The Wheel Will Turn

Anger is only useful if it fuels action.

Yesterday’s anti-Brexit march felt useful. I wasn’t on it as I was working, but just seeing the pictures gave me a sense of solidarity, a sense of hope; this madness will stop.

If it doesn’t, those of us who wish to remain in the EU will continue to campaign to return. Please don’t talk to me about the will of the people, or democratic process. When the referendum was held in the early 1970s and people voted to stay in the EU, or Common Market as it was then known, the leave campaign sprang into action immediately. To paraphrase a meateater’s saying, what’s sauce for the lentils is sauce for the butter beans.

Democracy is about argument, not things set in stone.

My outrage meter was just returning to somewhere above normal after POTUS’ announcement that he would reverse his inhumane decision to separate children from their parents and then blame the Democrats, when I realised it doesn’t apply to those families already separated. The trauma those children have undergone for this Trumplestiltskin to make a point, beggars belief. I cannot begin to imagine how this is going to affect them in their adult lives. The insecurity, the realisation at a much too young age that their parents cannot always defend them will leave an indelible mark. And all because this man likes to think he’s strong, and that this is the sort of thing strong men do. The truth is he’s weak, and the weak never know how hard they are hitting you.

It gets worse. Home from work tonight and I read Jonathan Freedland’s article in yesterday’s Guardian from which I learned that the children separated from their parents were not properly registered, meaning the chance of their being reunited is so slim it’ll be a miracle if it happens.

My jaw hits the ground so frequently these days it’s a wonder I have any teeth left. What happened to decency, the parable of the Good Samaritan as a reminder that we need to look after everyone, not just those we know or who are like us? What happened to humility, to Never Again, to lessons learned from the Third Reich about the horrible things humans are capable of doing when they embrace an ideology?

The self-deception of people filmed in interviews by Channel 4 News, people saying they supported Trump, that he has a good heart, that he loves children, the woman in tears because ‘he tries so hard and people are so hard on him’, people who looked decent, ordinary, people you’d smile at if you met them in the street.

I just don’t understand how people can listen to Trump, Farage, Le Pen, Salvini, Erdogan, Duterte, and so many others, and think they offer any hope of a future.

At least one person has seen sense, thanks to radio presenter James O’Brien. @JasonT341 tweeted:

I was as stereotypical as they came. Believed every word of #dailymail…got angry over silly things…bloody foreigners…bloody this…bloody that. Then I started to listen to @mrjamesob. He taught me to think rather than just blindly accept. Best lesson I ever learned.

People can change. Informed, reasoned debate does matter. The wheel will turn.

9 thoughts on “The Wheel Will Turn

  1. For some reason, hearing your rage helps me. It doesn’t take away, however, the sick feeling in my stomach when I think that we still have two and a half years of Trump’s incompetence. His administration is unable to return separated children because he didn’t think through how to implement this policy so it was immediately implemented and no one knew how to do it. They didn’t even think of something as simple as a hospital wrist band with identifying information of child and parent. This is the absolute worse, but not the only policy that is being implemented without doing a thorough policy analysis. Life is very scary on this side of the pond, Isobel. And unfortunately some of his actions will have world-wide impact – like his trade war with China. Those of us who believe in the underlying values of our Constitution, who value our allies and appreciate their previous support of our country, and who believe in honesty and compassion, are suffering on a personal and relational level.

  2. While I remain confident our Republic will survive this particular presidency, what appalls me most is the willingness of our various state organs to carry out these orders without comment. States who didn’t know they were party to this child separation business are discovering they have detention centers within their borders.

    Right now I am a recipient of all the best parts of humanity – Americans and other members of the world community – and it leaves me far more optimistic about the state of the nation than the daily news would allow.

    • Just following orders? I think our countries will survive, the wheel will turn, but there is going to be an awful lot of harm done on the way, and some people are going to suffer greatly.
      Perhaps you and Pat should get together and form a support group.

      And on a completely different subject, here’s a blog I think you might like spugwash.wordpress.com

  3. Thanks for spugwash – such wonderful photos at a time when distraction is needed.
    It isn’t just following orders so much as “oh, I didn’t know you were there” – and that’s scary. This may be a horrible time to be alive in terms of first world politics but history tells me it isn’t even for our very rich and happy countries the depths. I know you get to visit some of those high/low points everyday with your work.

    • You might want to try Letter from Norfolk as well, it’s on my list of blogs I like.
      The depths to which human behaviour can sink are fathomless. Surely there is no other animal as unpleasant as us, yet we can also be kind, generous, empathetic. A contradiction.

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