There’s an interesting to and fro here, kind of inconclusive though, on whether social media is trivialising politics. As the purpose of politics today seems to be to trivialise us, I’m not sure if the question posed isn’t rather back to front.
Paul has another take, meanwhile. I’d suggest it was analogous to the brutally private – but publicly genteel – husband, who manages to spend a marriage and a lifetime successfully forcing his spouse to kowtow to his overbearing abuse. For in essence, that’s what politics has become: a cruel entity which refuses to leave the law-abiding citizen in peace; which refuses to allow them to find a way of making a life at the margin of idiotic gamesmanship; which refuses to let them muddle their way through lives they would prefer to define on their lonesomes.
Essentially, which refuses to offer the choice of dignified disengagement. You will be powerless; you will feel ignored and forgotten; you will be alone, shamed and insulted; and you won’t be able to do anything about it.
Tell me if that isn’t an example of marital abuse. This is a shotgun wedding; and we are now the bitterly unwilling partners:
Present social movements, as “Occupy Wall Street” or the Spanish “Indignados”, claim that politicians work for an economic elite, the 1%, that drives the world economic policies. In this paper we show through econometric analysis that these movements are accurate: politicians in OECD countries maximize the happiness of the economic elite. In 2009 center-right parties maximized the happiness of the 100th-98th richest percentile and center-left parties the 100th-95th richest percentile. The situation has evolved from the seventies when politicians represented, approximately, the median voter.
So let’s follow the analogy down the line a bit.
What does an abused spouse do in such a set of circumstances? Go to family – but what if family think the matter normal? Go and stay with friends – but what if friends are friends of the husband? Go and talk to the police – but what if the police don’t have the resources to listen?
The only alternative I can see is to have a plan – an escape route even – and then a way of fighting back.
The plan and escape route? Vote with your conscious and how you must. This election #GE2015 is important – but life will go on if we want it to, whatever the result. So Paul: drink the poisoned chalice, as we all must – but remember that humans are rugged souls, and many poisons may pass through our bodies in a lifetime and a marriage without death being our immediate reward.
The way of fighting back? Organise using the very same tech, slides and hideous texts which the abusers are using against us all the time.
I’ve suggested #hyperlocal here and here. I’ve even brainstormed a number of sites. I know I am struggling to understand how a now heavily-mediated – often self-interested and vested – world of tech can be used to liberate us long-term; can be turned (quite despite itself) into our salvation. Yet, at the same time, I must continue to believe, as surely we must all, that there will be enough capable technologists willing to work on behalf of real democracy.
With the rest of us; alongside the ordinary citizen; around the communities currently so abused by political actors. Able to selflessly work … in much the same way as so many of us, battling away in our own fields of action, continue to strive to make come alive.
For #GE2015 won’t be won or lost on the day. #GE2015 will be won – or lost further – on the basis of what we do in the next five years.
The decisions we take, the behaviours we sustain.
Yes. The battle will poison us, but not fighting it would poison us quicker.