Thursday 12 December 2019

Lamppost faces entering a despairing game

Aine O'Connor

Signs of middle age #459: You actually know some of the people who have put themselves up for election. The morning after the posters went up, five familiar faces stared down from local lampposts. The photos all aim to strike the right balance between appeal and seriousness, the candidates sport a uniform of nice blow dried hair, a jacket with a statement necklace for the women.

These weren't people that I'd seen in the meedja, they were people I've coincided with in life. Contemporaries. It brought home that although I am firmly entrenched in the demographic that should be, if not seeking election, at least interested in politics. And I could not care less. I'll vote because I feel I should. But I have utterly lost faith in the political process and to an extent in democracy.

Over the years I've cared about a lot of things. I used to write about topics that felt important because maybe raising an issue could help to change it. But while many of those things still feel important, the fact that so many remain unchanged has contributed to my loss of faith. Another is the stunning lack of justice, especially social justice.

Certain interests are regarded as more worthy than others. Opera vs rock, documentaries vs soap operas, books vs magazines, politics vs fashion, for someone to feel superior they must ensure there is someone to feel superior to. To lack interest in politics is assumed to be passive or lazy or ignorant. But about politics I'm none of those, I am despairing.

To me the political process is a great power-tripping, interest-serving deception. It might seem insular, lazy, a bit too female (a synonym for not "really that important") but the only place most of us can make any real difference is with the people we love. And politics has lost sight of people. I don't doubt the motives of the candidates on the lampposts, but I seriously doubt the system they seek to become part of.

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