Politics Is About Optimism

First of all, my health is a lot better. The worst aspect of getting old is not major health issues…heart, kidney, diabetes etc. Thank GOD, I have no underlying issue. The worst aspect of getting old is that the recovery period from an ordinary bout of flu is much longer and more frustrating.

There is actually a strange transition period in the stages of life. I used to think I was “getting older” and of I joked about being old, friends would rush to assure me “not at all …youre not old”. Now I dont even say that because by any standards, I am 63 and old.

I might worry about my knees…arthritic due to too many marathons (two!!!!) and half marathons (four) and 10k fun runs (far too many). But I dont worry about my mental health….guess what….if you open the dishwasher and put a pint a milk in it and think “Im going mad”….its entirely normal. If on the other hand you have put dirty dishes in the fridge and only know about because your children tell you….then thats a bad sign.

So I feel mostly ok. Except for the irritating fact that nothing is as good as it used to be. Music. TV. Football. Movies. And going to Dublin yesterday and not realising that my bank card expired on 31st August and I had to go to a bank to be told that yes I might be able to withdraw €40 but it as “at the discretion of the cashier”….so being at the mercy of a cashier ….a 14 year old girl I think…is one of those senior moments that really pisses me off.

Increasingly the Future does not seem to appeal. The Music, the TV, Football and the Movies will be even worse and hard to believe that the young people of Dublin…no longer Irish in any traditional sense …want the same kinda future…Irish Unity…that I do. I am a stranger in Ireland. Damn I am a stranger in Belfast. Damn it all, I am a stranger on the Falls Road.

And its the same with Politics. I am a stranger with these issues. In fairness to myself, I coped with the great non-issue of Equal Marriage. The World did not End. In fairness to most others of my generation, we are not actually bothered. Nor should we be. I enjoy seeing “Rights” extended. But increasingly my generation will have trouble with some issues coming down the line…Reproduction Rights, Migration, The Environment, Re-Unification.

Politics is not just about the ebb and flow of ideas at Election time. There is something more fundamental….historic….going on.

Politics is about Optimism. A desire to make the world a better place. Certainly thats true MY kinda Politics. But hard to see any kinda Optimism in the Fux News mentality of Donald Trump or Syrian refugees with babies chanting “Freedom!!!” in the Square outside the main train station in Budapest. Is that the level to which Europe…with those grotesque plans of expansion…has sunk.

Hubris as the Greeks say. Schadenfreude as the Germans say. Karma as everyone says.

I dont have the optimism to even try and make things better.

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4 Responses to Politics Is About Optimism

  1. Good to see you back. On the optimism front, be it culture, politics, society, etc. well I go through up-and-down stages myself. Thankfully I’ve always come out the other side, though I have a disposition towards the morose. Syria in the 2000s is dreadful but how different is it from what occurred there, on a lesser scale, in the 1980s or ’70s? As for Trump, I remember Ross Perot. The wheel turns but it doesn’t change that much. Unionists talk the same crap in the 2010s that they did in the 1920s. We need those whose memory extends longer than a sound-bite. That doesn’t change.

    • I was thinking about Perot earlier but Trump is much worse. Everything seems divisive and arguably the social media is amplifying things.
      Everybody has their day on Internet…the latest “star” being the Clerk who wont issue marriage licences for gay people.
      Yes there is a swing from Optimism to Pessimism and back again.
      I was certainly more optimistic in the late 1990s and no doubt things will swing back in favour of nationalists but not any time soon.
      The only thing that matters is how things are when you die.
      In 1980s as a man in my 30s I knew I would outlive the worst of Thatcherism.
      But I will only be active for another 15 years or so…I cant see any upswing for my basic beliefs.

  2. Political tourist says:

    Cell phone in the fridge, done it.
    Took the channel changer to work instead of the phone.

    • What I always found was that when I did something “silly” when I was in my 30s, I used to say “sheesh, look what I just did!” and we would all have a laugh about it. But over the last few years, it really worried me because I was convinced that it was a very bad sign.
      But just a few weeks ago, on Breakfast TV , there was a report about Dementia and it said these episodes are entirely normal….it is only a worry when these episodes have to be pointed out to you.
      Its the most comforting news that I have heard in a long time.

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