I recently wrote a song entitled ‘Be’. (Also known as Tommy’s Song for reasons I won’t go into here). The message of the song is that we should all try to live in the moment. To just … Be.
I try to do that I really do. I try to accept change, go with the flow, take life’s blows and just accept what is without bemoaning what might have been.
This is hard for anyone to do let alone a dialysis patient who is desperate for a kidney transplant and plagued by inoperable spinal arthritis. That’s right, ‘inoperable’ because two spinal surgeons have now told me that although there is significant damage — including a herniated disc and pinched sciatic nerve — it’s too risky to operate on me because of my renal condition. Ergo, I must learn to live with the pain.
The problem is that constant pain makes me grumpy. And in the world today it’s extremely hard for a grumpy man to just … Be.
Here in New Zealand we’re approaching an election and the hype and hypocrisy is enough to make anyone grumpy.
The leaders of the two major parties, Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins recently held their first televised debate. Judith delighted in pained grimaces, plain speak, constant attack and poisoned barbs while Jacinda, who seemed strangely reserved, was her usual earnest self, refusing to get personal but with an annoying propensity to speak in bureaucratic jargon.
I understand where Jacinda is coming from (and where she wants to go) but she needs to understand that when she says ‘double duty’ initiatives people would better understand ‘win-win’, and instead of discussing the need to combat climate change (and immediately losing the deniers) she should dumb it down to the need for clean water, clean air and clean energy, which are things no one can deny.
Any election, this one in particular, has the National party plugging the line that they are better financial managers. Underlying this is the tacit perception that National MPs have backgrounds in business and Labour MPs don’t. Well, leaving aside the fact that many, (if not most), business people are inept, middle-management clones, history shows that business in New Zealand has generally done better under a Labour government. But that’s the truth and the truth has little place in politics.
Another thing that is hard to ignore is the growth of Alternative Right parties. On the one hand these are the natural reaction to a government promoting ‘kindness and compassion’ and is therefore seen as soft. But there is also an alarming appearance of pure ‘nutters’ among these right-leaning parties. Some promoting the belief that Jacinda, as a self-confessed Socialist, is leading our country towards communism as the first stage of our eventual morphing into a puppet of a world government.
Such is the madness that divides us today.
Look at America. A country seemingly deliberately divided by a leader who is supposed to unite. Truth is the country was already divided. For many the Civil War never really ended. We can only hope it doesn’t ignite again.
I suspect, though, that any civil war that simmers today would be based on an economic divide. Let’s not forget that in the days before weapons of mass destruction the poor were known to rise up against the wealthy. Russia and France spring to mind. So when the richest 1% of a country has more wealth than the bottom 90% combined you’d think a similar volcano could erupt. Nah, these days the wealthy would just call in the National Guard at the first sign of unrest.
Speaking of wealth, I note in our most recent poll the majority of people in New Zealand with an income of over $100,000 believe National would be better economic managers. I think what they really meant is that National would be less likely to increase taxes on higher incomes.
The nub of that thought is that, for many, elections are not so much about what we as a nation might gain, but what I as an individual might lose.
And I, for one, fear I will lose my mind.