Rainy days in Switzerland – yes, I had a few. And just as rainy days (and walking alone for many hours) led me to think, so too today – being alone in the house (puppies excluded), I think.
In particular, political thoughts. First, on the referendum regarding proportional representation. Second, the crazy Trump supporter who mailed thirteen bombs to prominent Democrats.
In broad strokes: left and right wings. Also broad strokes: progressives and conservatives.
So what is the difference and why such acrimony? I think it’s because the differences are huge – bigger than we make out. So often I hear the refrain: “We can all get along. We just need to listen to each other and understand.”
I’m not sure I buy into that. Her’s the thing: conservative don’t want change. They are afraid of change. They abhor change. They want things to be the same or even, to go back to the way they were. Hence the success of Trump’s slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Harking back to an imaginary time when America was great because black people were enslaved and white people were the ruling class. Life was good, right?
The problem with the “no change” scenario is that the only thing certain in our world is change. Things do change – all the time. Nature changes. We grow and evolve. We, hopefully, see our history, see the error of our ways (or see things that worked and that can even be improved upon) – but we must change. We have new technology, new knowledge, new problems to deal with.
Do we really want to go back to a time when there was an upper ruling class and serving them, a bunch of peons? Well, apparently many of us do as we historically see the largest gap in income ever in our history. The billionaire class got 20% richer in 2017 – while the rest of us continued to fall behind.
Progressives embrace change. Progressives tend to believe that we are equal no matter the colour of our skin or where we were born. Progressives tend to see a more global picture and tend to believe more in open borders – that we are one human race. Conservatives tend to be more insular and protective – more nationalistic shall we say.
Conservatives worship the economy – nothing is more important – jobs, jobs, jobs – it’s an election platform that just never gets old. They believe that we can have infinite growth (this is the old model) on a finite planet.
Progressives tend to look at the environment, are intent on battling climate change and preserving the planet – moving to a circular economy.
Conservatives embrace old-time religion (as I said – broad strokes here) while progressives tend to reject religious ideologies (yes – broad strokes).
Conservatives – pro birth (not pro-life or they would be helping children stay alive) and progressives – pro-choice.
And on and on we go with the differences. My point being that these are general trends with exceptions along the way – of course.
But where are these two sides to meet? I don’t see it. Conservatives would love to strip progressives of the vote (see Georgia in the U.S.) and progressives want the maximum number of people to vote in order to promote true democracy. And I’m not even going to go near guns, wars and the killing machine – nor will I touch on overthrowing of legitimate governments for financial gain.
I see a desperate situation – a true calamity – and that is climate change. If we are to survive as a species, the conservatives are going to have to be dragged along kicking and screaming. Really. I mean it.
And so we come to this referendum on voting. I am fascinated by the battle against it – all instituted by conservatives who see FPTP as away of gaining and retaining almost dictatorial powers. They get a minority of the vote but a majority of the seats. This happens north and south of the border. It’s engineered that way and why? Because there are more progressives than conservatives. We are the major force. We will win every time and the only way we can be stopped is by unfair voting practices: gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter disenfranchisement and FPTP. And still people vote against their best interests. I see it every day. Why do they do this? They are afraid of change.
Fear of change is the biggest irony. Everything changes. But I think I already said that.
And that finally brings me to Trump and the bombs. Trump’s supporters don’t care. They have been fed the idea that time will stop – that Trump will turn back the hands of the clock and they – the white working class – will somehow be kings and queens again – they believe this while they are being stripped of their incomes and their security. Change – please don’t change anything.
I see no way these two sides will come together. And to save the human species, the progressives have got to fight – and fight hard. If that doesn’t seem “nice” (and god knows progressives want to be fair and nice) – well it is “nice” in the long run. When progressives build a better world, it will be better for everyone, including the conservatives who would rather not change a thing.