It won't be long before the end of the year rolls around and people start trotting out their personal ambitions and wishes for the next year, I just thought I would get ahead of the curve with mine.
That said, given what will happen globally between now and the end of this calendar year (for those of us who subscribe to the Gregorian model) will likely have a significant impact on how the world looks and where humans go from here that I will claim this is 'timely', if 4 months early...
...as a brief aside, I was informed by a old buddy of mine that the Christmas celebrations in the Philippines kicked off on September 1st, the start of what are refered to as the 'Ber Months'...it is recognised in the Guiness Book of Records as the longest public celebration of Christmas anywhere in the world, he assured me! Oh joy says I!
More significantly, I'm talking about the Presidential election in the US, the slow grind towards Brexit in the UK and the global impact of the continuing coronavirus. Now these, in and of themselves, might seem like disparate and distinct events but I beg to differ...whilst the notion and reality of 'Globalisation' has taken a knock in recent years, there is no denying that the politics of one country can have an inordinate impact on one or many others and sometimes that can last for a while and sometimes it never changes back.
Let me explain...US politics, UK 'bolitics'...what else is in the news...wildfires in California (don't be fooled by the narrative that 'California didn't look after its forests'...83% are on Federal land and therefore the national government's responsibility but good luck finding anyone there who will accept any of that) which are linked to climate change, as are the hurricanes in the Carribean and the Gulf of Mexico and the tornados and flooding in the Midwest.
What else? A major fire at a refugee camp in Greece requires the relocation of 13,000 people who were fleeing strife, poverty and/or war in their homelands. I defy you to find anyone who wouldn't sooner be back in their country of origin, if they were guaranteed peace and prosperity there. Who took that from them? Where do you start but the Oil and Ideology Wars that have ravaged the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Central Asia have played a very significant part in causing these issues.
The relocation will require the EU to act and that will no longer include the UK which decided in it's infinite (but criminally ill-informed) wisdom to leave the bloc due to concerns about immigration (2/3 of which came from outside the EU and where the UK was a net 'exporter' of people under 'Freedom of Movement' legislation) and loss of sovereignty (again I defy you to find me anyone who can even explain what sovereignty is in this day and age...).
The points here being that we caused the issues, in part or whole (colonialisation, supporting despots, resource wars etc.) and that we work better together to resolve the immediate short term impacts (accommodating refugees) and the longer term issues (ending wars and securing peace) rather than as single separate states.
I think you're getting my drift here so I should probably move on and take a stab at my wishlist:
- I long for a return to balanced, rational and mannerly political discourse. I am just so fed up with the daily diet of instant gratification politics where we have decided that argument and debate are too difficult and that we should just jump straight to insult and abuse. I don't blame Trump, he didn't invent this but he has mastered it, the bigger issue is that we let him get away with it and allowed it to become the norm. A friend of mine in the US was telling me that she was recently called a 'Marxist' (as an insult, I add), she claims she agreed that she was a big fan of the Brothers! Her 'sin'? Suggesting that maybe Fox News was a tad biased in some of its commentary!
2. A more honest interpretation of identity politics, my father was hardly the model of tolerance but he was nonetheless a man of wisdom on occasions, he was a product of his upbringing and his background, as are we all, but he was worldly wise and widely travelled and I listened. One time, I asked, as a fresh faced and innocent pre teen, if it was true that when men were in the pub together that you never talked about politics, religion or football (we're Scottish by the way and if you can't discuss these three then you're stuffed for conversation). He replied "there are some things you can't change in life, your age, your sex, your colour, any physical or mental capability issues you were maybe born with, and on those you get a free pass, no-one can treat you any differently because of those, they don't make you any less of a human being, but when it comes to issues over which you have a degree of self control then hell mend you if you can't defend yourself". Respect one another, we need each other, diversity so enrichs the world, embrace it, but please be mindful of that fact that there is a difference between being colour blind and being deaf on colour.
3. Reject 'False Equivalency'. There are two sides to every argument, you need to see this from both sides, on the other hand...all good examples of 'being even handed', 'reasonable', 'fair' but the reality is that many situations are not that simplistic, not balck or white, not yes or no...there are shades of gray, nuances. What is never true and cannot be accepted is the idea that opposites are somehow equal. When the eco-warriors of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth were fighting whalers or clambering on oilrigs around the world to protest in the 70s that wasn't a fair fight but they needed to scream and disrupt to get noticed, to move the dial a degree. Today, when we see protesters being tear gassed and beaten by the same police who protect neo-nazis, that is not a fair fight, the hatred on the one side far outweighs the actions of those who oppose, you cannot stand and say 'well, there are two sides to every argument' (very good people???)...
4. Equality of opportunity, simple as that...schools, food, water, access to medical facilities, internet for all, clean affordable housing, minimum wage...let's just do it...when the top 1% of the world's population own 90% of the wealth and billions still live below the poverty line there is something seriously wrong with us and the world we have created and tolerate!
5. Let's roll back the demonisation of science and learning. There isn't a single issue in the world, be it pollution, clean water, climate change, food, medicines, telecoms etc for which we don't have a scientific or technological solution or the computing and brain power plus the physical resources to solve...not one! Think about that and then ask yourself why these are such huge issues in the world and that so many appear to have no resolution in sight. it is about incentivisation, to use economics terminology, there has to be an end benefit to resolving the issue and too often we confuse, or allow, short term monetary gain to dictate decisions at governmental and corporate levels. Incentives have an E and an R...an emotional element, it's good for the environment, it will promote wellbeing etc., and a rational one, it will make or save money. Too often and too many times the calculation of these are completely out of balance with one another...all the money in the world will be useless if there is no food to eat, water to drink or air to breath.
6. Look to the stars! Let's dream again, 'Space, the final frontier', I remember as a kid watching and reading science fiction, Star Trek, 2001, Robert Heinliein, Asimov and seeing men walk on the moon, we seriously believed anything was possible and that one day we would all be setting out on a journey into the unknown depths of space (and beyond)....I sensed a return to those days of bright eyed optimism as NASA started to reignite and Musk arrived....but then that clown had to go and spoil it, he had to leave his 'Office' and go create his pesky 'Space Force' and ruin the dream for us all....thanks for nothing, Steve Carrell!!!