- Date published:
4:18 pm, December 11th, 2014 - 55 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, climate change, community democracy, cost of living, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, election 2014, Environment, minimum wage, poverty, Privatisation, social democracy, socialism, Spying, sustainability, war, water - Tags:
Ten weeks ago I became a granny. I must admit, before this beautiful little boy was born I worried about the ethics of bringing another child into the world, just as I did before my own hormonal drive overtook my intellect 29 years ago and produced the original beautiful little boy who has now grown into a loving new father. But now I’ve seen my grandson I wouldn’t wish him away for the world – I am entranced by him, find myself gazing at him with a doting smile for ridiculously long spans of time, watching him soak in everything around him with such intensity I can almost see his brain fizzing beneath his downy scalp. What hasn’t gone away, however, is my deep concern for the world he will be growing up into, and the world my son and his wife will have to do battle with to ensure his ongoing well-being.
The thing is, I don’t trust the people in control. I want to. I want to be able to put politics from my mind and get on with living my life. But I not only don’t trust them, I loathe their values. For me it’s people over money every time – and the environment over money too. I find it incomprehensible that our current government are not only ignoring the apocalyptic onset of climate change, they are also actively working against the vital remediation necessary to temper its very real and terrifying effects. Not only our government, of course: there would appear to be a concerted effort by the leaders of the world’s biggest economies (and satellite economies like our own) to down-play the potential impacts and to undermine the real policy changes necessary to make a real difference.
I find it bizarre and incomprehensible those of us concerned for the health of our planet and who want to ensure we clean up our act and learn to live sustainably, are considered fringe, suspect, the loony left. While those at the very top of the pecking order might be insulated enough to survive the global devastation that we are rushing towards at break-neck speed, the rest of us are sitting ducks. And as the climate changes really start to hit, myriad other problems will rear their ugly heads as well. Floods, fires, water shortages, food shortages, climate refugees, boundary and resource wars, new illnesses, mass extinctions…. This is not business as usual. This is not some hippy over-reaction. This is serious shit!
Yet our government are building roads! They’re sidestepping emission-lowering measures. They’re continuing to think like petrol heads, riding rough-shod over environmental safeguards and, in the process, dooming my children and their children to ever increasing misery as the world heats up. They’re selling the environment out for the last few drops of oil and coal too: drilling in our precious waters, dredging our sea-beds for iron sand, fracking, destroying unique and irreplaceable habitats for commodities such as coal that will only add to our misery as they are consumed. And they’re signing up to secret trade pacts that will make climate change measures even harder to implement – and selling out our sovereignty to giant corporations. All this is madness. Lunacy. Ignorance and arrogance.
All this is due to their pursuit of the dollar. Their own ethics of greed, whether for power or wealth accumulation, are committing the rest of us to the eventual flames of climate hell. And that’s only the big picture… meanwhile, here in little old Godzone they are de-constructing the very social democracy that has enabled them all to climb the ladder, deftly pulling it up after themselves so my grandson will never have the kinds of benefits our current politicians took for granted in their youth. The equitable, excellent free education they all received, for instance, has been undermined, underfunded, and disastrously tampered with. Will my grandson be able to study at university in the future? It’s looking much less likely. And, even if he can get in, at what cost? Already his parents are crippled by student debt. Owning their own home – the kiwi dream – goes straight out the window when you’ve got a mortgage-sized debt to repay before you even start – and, even if you’re not fettered by student loans (and are lucky enough to have employment), who the hell can pay the kinds of housing prices we are seeing now? My kids are having to face the very real possibility that home ownership might never be within their reach.
What about if my grandson needs some kind of social or health-related support (god forbid)? Where once the government supported people in vulnerable positions, many of these services have been so seriously underfunded they are dying or have disappeared – or been handed over to private companies whose bottom line is profit, not human good. They’ve sold off our power companies; are privatising our prisons, schools, healthcare, insurance… in short, all our safety nets have been shrunk or punctured full of holes. Heaven help my grandson should he need mental health support or rehabilitation. All our most important agencies, the ones that really are dealing with the dire day to day problems of this country’s most vulnerable and needy, are so strapped for cash they are unable to deliver the services many people need. The government is relying on communities picking up the tab while our communities are already in crisis and stretched to breaking point.
But it’s not just the lack of concrete needs that this government is responsible for. My grandson will be growing up in a climate of manufactured fear – designed to keep the populace in check and to justify the draconian and deeply undemocratic practices they are currently passing under urgency at every available opportunity. He will grow up with less privacy, less democracy, less trust, less freedoms, less ability to dissent, less concern for his personal human and civil rights. If he has the audacity to speak out against such practices, he’ll likely find himself running foul of a politicised police force – those very same cops who recently spent 10 hours searching my brother’s house while the real criminals and liars destroyed all evidence then walked away free. All this, too, is really scary. With our media now under the corporate thumb, and our govt. politicians up to their armpits in dirty politics and cynical spin, what hope is there that dear Leo will grow up in a country where his interests are put before those of multinational corporations, bankers, weapons manufacturers, and self-serving power junkies?
What I don’t fear for is his personal sense of self: he is growing up loved and nurtured and we will all make sure his needs are somehow met and he is kept as safe as we are able. And he does at least have one bonus – the fact he’s male (sorry, guys, though you fellas don’t like to hear it, inequality is alive and well in Godzone. Need proof? Just look at the rabid misogynists who crawl out of the woodwork every time the words ‘feminism’, ‘sexual harassment’ or ‘rape culture’ are uttered from a woman’s lips.) But we’re still going to have to fight for him. I have no faith in this government’s commitment to his future. They have proved themselves to be serving much bigger masters: the mighty war machine of the US – and corporate greed. They lie. They cheat. They smirk out of the corner of their mouths as they pretend to care, juggling a knife behind their backs.
So that’s why I’m speaking out now, every opportunity I get. Not because I like the exposure (shudder), but because I love this tiny little person and I will fight for his future, come what may. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the decent, human thing to do. I need to know that when he grows up and asks how the people of my generation could have let this terrible state of disaster, fear and repression develop, at least I can say that I tried to stem the flow. What about you?