Incoherence

Even pictures of baskets of kittens and a huge Chinese takeaway aren’t really working for me today. Please excuse the incoherence of the rest of this post. I need to brain dump.

There’s been a lot of talk of class and poverty both here in the UK and the USA. A lot of people talking about the disenfranchised poor, and how we other voters must understand their anger and address it rather than pretending it isn’t there. I get that, but I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about what it means. It seems, in some camps to mean that we have to turn the other cheek when people are rude, or ignorant or stupid or abusive and if we don’t we ourselves are vilified as rude, ignorant stupid or abusive.  That’s not what it means.

Firstly let’s dispel a myth. Exit polls show that the voters for Trump were not ‘the poor’. The poor largely voted for Hillary. So Donald is being held up as the saviour of the poor and disenfranchised by the same rich guys as ever. They’re only wearing different hats. Just look at who he’s swearing in to help him. If you thought things were going to be radically different in a good way, I pity you. If you don’t think things are about to get fucking scary for everyone, I pity you.

In the UK  in the last few days I have been seeing a variation of; ‘I have no voice because nobody listens to the working man,’ being trotted out like a badge of entitlement. It usually comes as a prelude to something offensive that a person feels entitled to say because they are taking back their power or representing the will of the people. This is code for shouting at people with the caps lock on.

It reminds me of a child I once taught who refused to even try to learn to read because ‘I’m dyslexic miss. There’s no point.’  A problem is not a badge you can flash to get out of learning, even if it really is a problem. It doesn’t mean you get to sit back and invoke mob rule because you can’t be arsed to build when it’s easier to smash things down, or because it’s harder for you to learn stuff.  The idea that we must not thwart people because they might get upset because their circumstances were hard or different is shit.  It’s perpetuated largely by people who a) have no interest in things changing and b) no will to do things differently but just fancy having a pop at everyone and stirring up trouble because they can. And it’s massively insulting to many people who work bloody hard and do amazing things in our communities despite incredible odds.

I have a great deal of sympathy for the disenfranchised. I have felt disenfranchised nearly all my life.

I do not, however, accept that this gives me a reason to tear up the world in order to make a point that could be made better in other, more positive ways. It does not give me a stick to beat everyone over the head with because I cannot get my way. It does not give me a pass to behave any way I feel like just because I see those in power doing it and want to give them a dose of their own medicine. Because the thing is and history bears me out here, it is never the people at the top who pay in the end.

We do not help ourselves or others by indulging our worst, most childish traits and sitting back waiting for others to fix what we have helped to break. We do not get to opt out if we feel our lives are tough. Most people’s lives are tough. It’s how you deal with it that make the difference.

We help ourselves by learning how to do things differently. It angers me immensely that it is ‘cool’ to demonise education these days. That people who work hard, who study hard, who think things through, who work stuff out, are being cast as the new stupid. And what happens when you have broken everything, and all the smart people who could have helped you, who could have helped you to help yourself, are gone?

I get that people are angry. I am fucking furious. I get that people want to vent. I do it. What I don’t get is the fact that people do this and only this. This is not helping. This endless well of anger from people that just lash out continually at people who are ‘other’, at people who look different, sound different, grew up differently, had a different education. If it isn’t colour, religion or sex it’s class or money. There’s always some reason why you can’t stick your hand out and help someone else or do something different, and it’s never because you’re frightened, or lazy or you don’t know how to do it, although that’s usually the truth of it all, at bottom.

Guess what? We’re all frightened, and we’d all love to stay at home in the warm shouting at the telly. Guess what, we don’t all know how to do it, but at least some of us are willing to learn and try, and that shouldn’t be a problem or an insult. Someone called me a ‘do-gooder’ the other day, as an insult. FFS. I’ll take it any day of the week. Far better than a ‘do nothing.’

Be angry. It can be really good to be angry. Don’t turn the other cheek. Don’t be meek and quiet. BUT and it’s a huge BUT, don’t blame everyone else for what you could fix yourself. Don’t complain if you don’t like what’s happening to the world but at the same time you want to continue sitting in your cosy house with the same income you’ve always had and you don’t want to share, or risk what you have for the chance of something better, or get up and go out into the cold and roll your sleeves up and be the change you want to see.

People will say this post is hypocritical because here I am moaning about things and saying we shouldn’t vilify people when I’m criticising other people for not doing it right. There will be commenters who inevitably call me a ‘typical remoaner’ trying to thwart the ‘will of the people’. The same tired old crap that comes out every time. I accept the fact that if I stick my head above the parapet, someone will try to knock it off. I don’t care.

I accept that we are all different. I accept that some people think that leaving the EU is great and some don’t. I accept that some people love Trump although I don’t understand it. I accept that some love Hillary.  What I don’t accept is ill informed bile that is supposed to pass for debate. What I don’t accept is people who are not willing to learn or put their money where their mouth is. What I do not accept is people trying to shout me down who have no real interest in the good of this country or any other and every interest in what’s good for themselves.

I am the people too. Get over it. And my will is that I want a better world and I will make one. And if people want to call me names to make themselves feel better while I get on with stuff, then it’s their own breath they’re wasting.

I will keep saying this. Stop looking for what divides us. Stop allowing those in power to fuel the narrative of hatred and distrust, whether it be because of race or gender or wealth or class. Look for what unites us and work to make it stronger. Stop using your ignorance as a weapon. Get educated, get smart, get moving. Get on with it.

40 responses to “Incoherence

  1. Ah Katy I was waiting for your post and you haven’t let me down!
    I will see your incoherence and raise you some severe rambling as I have now had several gins and its very late 😀

    As usual I have read reams of opinion and analysis to try to make some sense of this situation. Like you I get that people want to stick two fingers up at the establishment, the old order that has made them feel marginalised and disregarded. Voting for a vain, egotistical, pathologically dishonest and utterly immoral billionaire who has no more intention of changing the status quo (unless it is inadvertently by his incompetence and hubris) than I have of swimming the channel, is hardly the answer.
    I have seen speculation that he will not even complete his term of office once boredom sets in, let alone ‘make his supporters proud’, as it was all about winning at any price and self aggrandisement, not the day to day grind of holding office and actually delivering the rather sketchy agenda he promised. As far as I can see, unless his swearing in ceremony includes the gift of a magic wand, most of it would be an impossible task for the most diligent and committed candidate to accomplish, let alone this twat. So, rather like brexit, I predict disappointment for all concerned.

    There is something more sinister going on though, not just in the States but here and across Europe. So who do we blame, those (mostly) white working and middle classes who are too lazy or blinkered to analyse events and demand accountability from the real culprits, or the cynical elites who use their dissatisfaction and instinctive prejudices to manipulate them?
    I’m getting to the point where I am out of patience with the former and heartily loathe the latter. When I read that 67% of white males voted for an entitled white charlatan and bully (who also happens to be male) I’m disappointed but not overly shocked. When I see that 53% of white women voted for him, apparently prepared to overlook the fact that he is also a misogynistic sexual predator, I am stunned. What the hell could Hillary Clinton have done that was bad enough to justify that? And the fact that a high percentage of evangelical christians voted for him just takes hypocrisy to new heights, and although spellcheck is adamant that I should use a capital letter I don’t feel they deserve one.

    I know all about the theory of decision making and confirmation bias, thanks to the brexit vote. We are all guilty of having an emotional response to an issue and then looking for evidence to justify this position. However I like to think that most reasonable people are capable of assimilating, evaluating and even acknowledging the merit of, some of the opposing arguments, sometimes it is even possible to change your point of view…. The trouble is too many people seem to prefer to close their mind to anything that challenges them and repeat slogans very emphatically if they don’t have a plausible argument.
    To disregard the fact that someone is a proven liar, (and we aren’t talking about the customary political deviousness here but the kind of ludicrous whoppers you wouldn’t expect from a schoolboy), has a deeply flawed personality that makes him absolutely unsuited to public office and who shows no compunction in victimising a whole range of minorities or using language designed to incite hatred, paranoia and violence, really takes some doing. You can not just dismiss it as an anti establishment protest, how many people would risk letting Trump fuck up the country for four years as a protest? The inherent racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia of his campaign was obviously floating a lot of their boats. It would seem in yet another brexit parallel that it only did so for about 50% of the voters, but it was enough. Which, if anything, is even more depressing.

    Keep on doing what you do, we need people who care and aren’t afraid to say so. If ignorant pillocks are taking pot shots at you then you are doing something right. We all need to stand up for what we believe in because these are troubling times and we really are ‘stronger together’. Xx

  2. Katy, I too was waiting for your reaction, and it was worth waiting for. Keep up the do gooding and the rants. They are making a difference.

  3. And yes again. I am so grateful that some people can actually put into words what I am thinking and feeling. Thank you both x

  4. Yes to both of you. Just yes. I am so unbearably sad. Everything I believe in is being held up for dismantling and I just don’t understand. Obamacare is the first to go, then abortion rights. They have them all lined up to get rid of them. And the people he has around him. Tears just run down my face

  5. Yes, just yes to the thoughts of both of you.

  6. Good on you Katy! Thanks for sticking your head above the parapet, I’m with you! Thank goodness for a sane voice in what feels like crazy times!

  7. I hear you. It’s a worthy rant and makes much sense. And yes sometimes we need to rant. Anger held inside is toxic. But I especially concur with your final paragraph. We must own our own minds in order to own our own power, and then choose what thought we have and admit our choices. It is the act of not so doing that gives our will and our power away to others, for which we hold others to blame. And then project the anger for ensuing feelings of weakness. This is what happens when we listen to the fear based voice of the ego instead of the voice of spirit within. But there is good news. The numbers of people waking up and choosing to walk the path with spirit are rising. Everywhere. For the most part we are a silent crowd, working to quell our own egos and forgive our brothers for their imagined sins against us. For only what is real exists. And only Love is real. (Ref A Course in Miracles). So yes look for what in us is the same. And only that does spirit ever see. All else is illusion.

  8. Absolutely bloody brilliant. I wish I had your command of the English language and the ability to put my thoughts down on paper or keyboard. Either my fingers can’t keep up with the brain or my brain starts spinning. I spend as much time going back to correct spelling as I do actually typing. This realy does bugger up the flow of thought and I then get distracted and even a G&T at 10 in the morning wouldn’t help. Keep up your excellent blog and thanks for letting us all join in. I will “get on with it” and “we really stronger together”.

  9. Thankyou!
    Feeling angry but your blog makes so much sense! It helps!

  10. I don’t know who these “poor” are, but I do know my mum worked 3 jobs at one point whehn I was a kid to keep food on the table and let us have (some) nice things. Not being able to have/do all the things we saw our friends having/doing was never an excuse to be a dick!

    Knowing there are people like you in the world is the only thing keeping me from losing faith in humanity entirely x

  11. Nothing to add to your excellent blog, except: “Yes. Hear, hear!” Thanks, Katy x

  12. Katy, I’m not asking – I’m just telling you: I’m going to share this; it’s too good :-).

  13. I woke up yesterday, clicked on the news and for one split second thought they were playing an awful not-April Fool trick. Then reality and the awful, awful shock set in.
    I gather we may now be in the position of having to hope Fart doesn’t get bored & pack it in, because the consensus appears to be that Pence is a True Believer and he’s who we would get if Donald goes before his term is up. Yuk!
    Thank you for your thoughts; you’re not incoherent at all.

  14. Thank you again for sharing here and expressing in such an articulate way things that I feel and believe but for one reason or another am unable organise/process, let alone communicate so clearly.

    For me, you have become a fixed point providing compassionate, “do gooding rants”, in what I fear for many (especially those at the margins) will become increasingly dark and difficult times.

  15. “Stop looking for what divides us. Stop allowing those in power to fuel the narrative of hatred and distrust, whether it be because of race or gender or wealth or class. Look for what unites us and work to make it stronger. ” Hear! Hear!

  16. I have been teaching and writing the same message for the last 25 yrs plus – some will hear and some will not- some are ready to hear and some are too locked into their own heads to recognise the wisdom I those words, but keep shouting them, as I do in my own way, and each time someone else may hear you or me or someone else saying this out loud again and again and again. Have faith – people are waking up and listening, are beginning to recognise that it is up to each of us to turn our own lives around in the best way we can and we can help each other along the way, the May Govmnt has just had two defeats for its austerity- there is a recognition that things are not fair and it is coming from many sources including so called establishment. Change is coming and each of us can contribute to that change in our own lives, bit by bit. BE optimistic but keep ranting as I shall too and all others on here. much love Sylvia xxx

  17. realised when I got to the end of your blog that I was holding my breath. Then the ‘Joyce Grenfill in my said Breath! I’ve stopped trying to make sense of the world gone mad syndrome, thanks for reminding us that actions speak louder than words

  18. Nothing incoherent there Katy.

    I know you weren’t writing about Trump per se, but about the inevitable post-election re-run of the “angry white men”/”poor me” narrative that has taken over the UK since June and which you critique so well. When the US election outcome became obvious to me at 3am yesterday, I shut down all my tech and refused to hear another word about it for precisely that reason. My husband told me when the result was confirmed and I have firmly planted my head in the sand since then, and yet I still know what’s been said. Today I have opened my email box (only) which is how you’ve made it through my personal firewall that I have named “Ostrich”.

    I also discovered that my cabin in Canada just got more expensive (as half the US population now wants one) and the process got more tricky (the website has resumed service but the queues are now very long).

    I am not really surprised Trump won. He tapped into the same mood that Boris/Nigel/Arron Banks tapped into (and like them had the catchier slogan), though that is where the Brexit parallels end for me. After 8 years of Democratic rule and a deep recession, even Harambe could have won on a Republican “change” ticket and without the extra help provided by the Democrats’ choice of nominee and Julian Assange. The exit polls confirmed that voters disliked both candidates, so they voted largely on tribal policy lines – American society is generally much more socially conservative than the UK so it is easy for big numbers to fall in behind the pro-gun/pro-old economy/pro-business/pro-Life/pro-God/low tax/small state with big military Republican agenda and disregard the man himself. Many don’t think a woman should lead America anyway and clearly some just wanted to shake things up a bit. It may teach the political parties to do better in future.

    However dumb the choice may seem to many of us, Americans knew who they were voting for (not just what they were voting against) and that is their democratic right. The electorate get to change their minds in four years (unlike us) and the world just has to hope the Republicans will decide Trump’s actual programme for him and there will be some added layers of security to prevent a thin-skinned narcissistic sociopath from activating any nuclear codes when Putin says “no baddy does Presidenting like I do” (but with better grammar).

  19. Very good post Katy. I also believe that the press has a lot of doing behind what happened in UK and US. They publish lies as if they are absolute truth and give plataform to insane ideas and people. After the results they rush to unveil to the masses why everything they published was a lie but they wait till the unhappy poor make uninformed decisitions based on what they have decided to headline. Today to find the truth you need to have a lot of time in your hands to read and read through articles internet searches,
    and watch different news. It should not be that hard to tell people the truth behind the lies when it matters.

  20. Reblogged this on The Night Owl and commented:
    I have to admit to feeling very much the way that Katy does at the moment.

    It hasn’t been that long since I woke up to politics, but even such a newby as I can see nothing but disaster about to happen with the latest results in the US.

    As Terry Pratchett wrote in his book of the same title:

    “There is a curse.
    They say:
    May you live in interesting times.”

    I have to agree that we certainly seem to be doing so right now!

  21. I am not American and so feel rather confused by the whole situation. I wondered if people were a little angry that the crash of 2008 which was caused by one set of people had a disproportionate effect on a completely different group of people. As long as we keep buying and demanding cheaper goods then jobs will continue to go to countries where wages are lower, and the only jobs left will be poorly paid service sector ones. I get your point that folk should do something and not just rant, but what exactly can a pensioner do. This weekend is armistice day, look at the care that is available for the elderly. Do they deserve that? The bankers will get their bonuses. Do they deserve they? Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, so why is everyone surprised when people try to vote for change? And why is the accepted wisdom that it is the uneducated and lazy who have the bottle to go against the wisdom of the establishment. I am saddened that people find it so hard to accept that others weren’t ok with the status quo. Maybe they feel guilty at their previous insensitivity to them. I just plead with the angry thwarted people to stop for a minute, accept that they just didn’t notice that things were hunky-dory everywhere. And for others not to use the situation to be nasty to each other.

    • There’s loads of things that people of all ages can do. You could, if you are housebound for any reason, start a Facebook group for your community if there isn’t already one, and start listing resources that are available to people. You could volunteer to man the phones as a Samaritan. You could figure out how to support your local library by starting something like a book club or a stitch and bitch group and doing it at the library. This country is glued together by people who volunteer. You could teach IT skills to support Age UK and help ‘silver surfers’. You could offer part of your garden if you have one, to someone on an allotment waiting list. We need people to do things like this to hold back the tide of negativity. You’ll find something. x

  22. Couple of typos there. Sorry hard to write on a phone. Should be bankers deserve the bonuses, and weren’t hunky dory.

  23. As usual, I totally agree with everything you say.

    The weird thing is (re Gerry Rust’s articulate comment at the top) no – this wasn’t just an anti-establishment vote in the US, but yes, it was. However, I think it’s deeper than just two fingers up at Washington. I think possibly the same is true about Brexit. I think ‘people’ are tired of the way things are. Nothing works, the political system doesn’t work, your own life might not be working too well, democracy even doesn’t work because no one seems able to find a way to make it work – like proportional respresentation, and electoral colleges, the percentages of the Brexit vote, and Hillary winning millions more pop votes than Trump.

    So many people want things to be different, but most of them can’t articulate how they want that difference to manifest itself. For some this leads to a nostalgic look back at the past, which, with those kind of rose-tinted specs on is sublimely wart-free. Sadly, no matter who you vote in, nothing changes, and all of us know that – basically – we are never heard, never listened to, and no matter how stupid and ranting we are, or intelligent, educated and ranting we are, it just doesn’t seem to make any difference in the long run.

    The idealists who we (when the chance arises) joyfully vote into ‘power’ lose their idealism within a nanosecond once they are sucked into the political system, and political pragmatism has to take over, or else they have their idealistic agenda curtailed by force (look at Obama). The whole system that we – as a western world anyway – are locked into just doesn’t work any more, if it ever did.

    Everyone is just pissed off with it all, with the same old same old – the elite looking after themselves, the bulk of us locked into a senseless and unending 9-5 routine that leaves little time and no energy to change the world, and yet which somehow never makes us noticeably materially or spiritually better off. The poor and less educated locked into being poor and less educated.

    And meanwhile, political correctness has taken away even the small satisfactions that kept one on track. In the ‘good old days’ you could let off steam after a bad day, telling someone to fuck off, possibly even throwing a punch in the pub, or kicking a door on the way home, peeing over your horrible neighbours fence. You can’t do anything like that any more. We all expect everyone to behave with this false kind of ‘niceness’ that is just a thin veneer lots of people pull on with their raincoats every morning.

    Nowadays we are all watched all the time. There are even cameras recording if you’ve paid your bloody car park ticket, monitoring how fast you drive for your whole journey, not just through that village – you can never just kick out and feel immediately better and get back on track again.
    I don’t mean that we all used to behave like ‘animals’ (an insult to animals, quite frankly) – but in the end, most of us had odd moments of losing it, but the rest of the time we self-monitored, most of us aren’t rude or violent except that once in awhile. Now, in the frighteningly straitjacketed Orwellian world we all inhabit, we have to pretend that we are happy with being watched, happy, in truth, with paternalism, but actually we’re not.
    We’re not happy with anything much.

    I think that’s why people have voted for someone like Trump (loathsome and scary individual that he is) – because he has somehow successfully stepped outside the rules we all have to abide by. He has made ALOT of money which, in many peoples’ books = SUCCESS, and he doesn’t give a toss about saying what he thinks, things that maybe a good many people would like to say once in a while. He doesn’t give a flying fuck.And he has made it to the top political job in the world without having 10 minutes of experience. How cool is that?

    They envy that. They envy him. They wouldn’t mind being him. They don’t give a toss about policies or agendas, or how he’s going to ‘rule’, or how he behaves in his private life. That isn’t the point, and I daresay there are aspects of him they DON’T like. But they admire that he has the barefaced cheek to think, speak and behave in a way they secretly wish they could too, even if only once in awhile.

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