Saturday, December 12, 2009

Silver Linings in the Dark Midwinter?

The gathering gloom reported in the media recently over a very wide spectrum of human life on the planet, is mirrored in SW London at least by winter darkness still prevailing at breakfast time and again by teatime making the daily commute a grey cold and usually wet experience.

The media reports about politicians' and others' wise and sometimes not so wise, words at Copenhagen, the continuing grave news out of Dublin about priests' malfeasance, the ongoing recession and politicians' feebleness in responding to the overborrowed state of the economy, the plight of those living under intolerant secular or supposedly religious regimes and those oppressed by war famine or pestilence, make for pessimistic reflection, especially when also taking into account, one's personal actions which might be said not to be adding to the Common Good.

Yet...and yet, the sun is shining now as always it does somewhere. Countless individual human acts of kindness go unreported. Collectively many individuals seek to improve the human condition. Thus outside the offices of Lockheed engineering co's UK subsidiary in SW1 earlier this week, were singers dressed as Santa Clauses singing in the tunes of carols, songs beseeching workers and politicians not to replace the UK's Trident nuclear missile arsenal. That they were able to sing and protest freely barely a stones throw from the Houses of Parliament is itself positive but their viewpoint I thought about by Westminster Cathedral and concluded was entirely correct so signed their petition in support.

Had I been alive for WWII and had the prospect of dropping an atom bomb or two on Japan been up for discussion, doubtless the likelihood of shortening the war by a year or more would have been hugely enticing, yet the price to be paid of killing and maiming millions of non-combatants would I hope, I would have seen, as being contaminated blood money of the kind, that should never ever be paid.

If during the cold war Cuba missile crisis - and I recall us teenage pupils saying the deeply moving and consoling De Profundis prayer with the Jesuits at Beaumont on Black Saturday night - the West had fired its/our nuclear bombs at theUSSR, the human race, even had any humans survived, would have been immeasureably poorer for it, far poorer in fact than if we had simply run up the white flag and joined the USSR (rather than as it subsequently turned out the EU). The salutory lesson to be learned from the demolition of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR empire years later, is that good will out - eventually - which is really a gold rather than silver lining thought for the dark mid-winter or to put that another way, the thought of Christmas to come.

1 comment:

  1. Jerry, I think your blog goes from strength to strength, whereas mine is becoming mired in a sea of facetiousness (but there's room for everyone in the blogosphere, I always say)!

    I would like to take up one point in your latest post, when you decry: "... politicians' feebleness in responding to the overborrowed state of the economy, ...". In my view, this is a Catch 22 situation. If a party in Britain, France or anywhere else were to run on a platform of fiscal (or for that matter ecological) rigour, and if that party were to spell out what such a programme would entail for each and every one of us, said party WOULD NEVER GET ELECTED! Will things ever change? Yes, either, and most probably, the economy collapses completely and some sort of semi-democratic government takes over, or, less likely but far more positive, the electorate at long last shows the necessary intelligence to vote in a party prepared to tell the truth and to promise to do something about it.

    I truly believe that our present predicament is not, as so often asserted, an indictment of our politicians, but much more a condemnation of us, the electorate. When we criticize successive governments, we are in effect criticizing ourselves. With so much knowledge and information freely available nowadays, we can no longer plausibly say that we have been hoodwinked by our politicians. We know perfectly well what we are doing when we vote in a government dedicated to NOT confronting the problems facing us.

    As someone who has very often been proved long in the course of my life, I do believe it really is up to us show the way forward. We almost did this in the case of the Iraq War (not me personally, I'm ashamed to say) but we show little sign in pushing politicians a little nearer in the direction of financial and economic reality.


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