21 blog posts series find fourteen

21 blog posts series find fourteen

Fourteen: “Questioning in order to understand politics”

Politics is a tough thing, ever-changing and ever unpredictable (for the most part). I have understanding for those who can become disillusioned with politics because of the nature in the way that it is. But I would hope that this disillusion would be something temporary. I understand that when the results of elections, referenda on a big or small scale don’t come together for you – that could push your interest away on a human level due to disappointment or lack of support.

But I think once something has been passed into law or someone has been elected in, the debate has not stopped, the playing field has just changed up a bit. Are your views or opinions going to change over night? Not exactly. Often, election results present to us the view of the nation. The winner or loser knows their place and the citizens must adapt accordingly. But is that the real picture? If you look to the amount of spoiled votes and those who didn’t cast a vote at all, sometimes those levels can be astonishing and honestly, disheartening.

So what can we do to get people more focused in on politics, to act out their role and entitlement in contributing to the future of a country? I’m currently writing an academic paper on political satire and it’s place within mainstream journalism/news. One scholar notes how political satire can act as an introduction to political issues on an larger scale, being that bit more engaging and emotive. Do we need to be emotionally driven to go out and vote or is the element of duty strong enough?

Both are up for questioning here. If we aren’t happy with a politician, political party or even a Taoiseach, I think we have the right to hold them to account as members of the electorate. We were the ones who voted them in their based on what we conceived as their ability and commitment to the policies they wished to evoke. If they aren’t doing what they said they would do, peoples’ own power should come into play here. Or else, what’s the point in being involved at all?

We are seeing a lot of this recently with the number of strikes and public protests or rallies in the last number of months. I find this public participation something to truly admire. It shows the lack of fear that exists and of course the belief in the power of having a voice to back up your view. I think this activism allows us to question the way things are and really if our way of living is up to scratch. Protests are rooted in history and marked for a reason so I feel we should never live in fear of voicing our views.

As well, support is key in political protest in terms of lending a helping hand to the cause of our fellow citizens. This can come in the form of men marching at the Women’s March or those who took part in the Strike 4 Repeal campaign on International Women’s Day. Last week those with physical disabilities spoke out at the Irish Government for their lack of supports and the fact that standard law regulations set by the EU/UN has not been passed here on disability rights. Here we could see people from all different backgrounds supported by family and friends out for the cause.

I think this encouragement is vital when a group has the courage to step up against an oppressor. Even at the moment with the Bus Eireann and public transport strikes, I have seen those with no fixed personal involvement stand with these workers who feel they are up against it. The question remains, do we all have a part to play? We have the choice whether to participate in any of these campaigns, but as we know, politics is unpredictable. Each and everyone’s role as individuals is vital in some shape or form.

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

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A Message Amidst Madness Series: The Final Message.

By Cathy Lee

Everything is finite isn’t it? I mean infinity can’t even be defined.

The duration of your favourite film is set. There could be a sequel, but that has to end as well doesn’t it?

Just like this ‘A Message Amidst Madness’ Series, it has to end sometime.

I realise my last few posts have been rather political, but I can guarantee that this won’t be.

It won’t be political because politics doesn’t matter for what I’m going to talk about.

Last week, suddenly, my gran-aunt died for about fifteen minutes, casually, on Friday morning.

Weird right? She literally was at deaths door, said “no thank you” and made her return on back.

It got me to thinking and kind of put things into perspective a little bit.

I had come home to vote on Friday (I’m sorry I said I wouldn’t mention politics – woops!) and my mother picked me up off the train.

We drove for a little bit and caught up on various things. About twenty minutes in she announced that we had to go eat lunch.

I told her I wasn’t overly hungry, just wanted to go vote and get working on a few assignments due – as I knew that’s how my weekend looked like it would consist of anyway.

There was no protesting, we were going to get lunch.

At the table after just starting to eat my mother told me that we wouldn’t be going home and we’d have to go check in on my gran-aunt.

She then explained the reasoning and what her morning had consisted of.

Ambulances had been called and my extended family members had gathered in the home of my gran-aunt after her housekeeper had noticed her fall particularly ill.

“White as a ghost she was, cold, gone I tell ya” – I was told later on when we arrived to the house.

Now, after a near-death experience everyone is usually you know, shook up or panicked.

But not Theresa.  I swear she got a new lease for life.

When I arrived to the house, some relatives and friends were still lurking around.

They all chattered together, expecting her to take another turn.

I took a seat beside her bed when I arrived. We call to her regularly and it’s usually the same questions or trivia discussed.

Today was different though.

She complimented my ripped jeans and asked me what nightclub we’d go to that night.

I quickly informed her that Saturday nights were better for the night-life and dancing.

We laughed and she asked if she could borrow some of my clothes as a hand-me-down saying she missed being in fashion.

I told her no problem, that I would have loved to have had the opportunity to go to the dances with her. I knew this from stories of herself and my grandmother doing a few jigs up at the community hall in their time.

She said of the morning’s proceedings that she remembers being given some cornflakes and it was a regular morning. Then waking up to ambulance men and relatives in her room.

Her first thought was that there wouldn’t be enough cornflakes for everyone and that she hadn’t realised she was throwing a party.

For some reason I’ve always thought that the young and the old get on better than adults and children or adults and the elderly.

It’s simply because neither group take life too seriously.

I mean myself and Theresa could just laugh about going out on the town while the adults conducting their actions in panic over where Mrs. Keane was going next.

Theresa is 87, she knows what happens to people at that stage of life. It has happened for many friends, relatives and neighbours she knew.

I really think she’s okay with it. When we left her home, she got up out of bed and walked me to the door and waved as we drove away.

My mother couldn’t understand why I was smiling.

That weekend I worked at my essays, but I also took the time to see my dear friends. We had dinner at my best friend’s house and she even basked dessert for us.

I told the friend group of this story, we talked about the elections and we planned for the future of the fun things we’d do together.

I know we won’t have the future forever and may not even have each other either.

But I realised the truth that day, and that is my final message for you:

“Don’t take life too seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway”.

That saying used to freak me to my very core. But seeing Theresa face death and come back with a laugh, I’m inspired.

 

And so this is the end of the series. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

 

A Message Amidst Madness Series: Seeing people as real.

By Cathy Lee

So as it’s election season, this has brought focus to the chosen few in each constituency as to who is to represent and triumph at the polls.

The promises are thrown out and repeated on end, with the key words of “progression” and “prosperity” to be seen everywhere.

With posters shining above us upon most lamp posts and the odd fence, it’s easy to fall into a trap of seeing these running TDs as some new form of super-hero or celebrity.

I understand that these people are public figures, but it’s key to remember that these guys, although politicians, are still people at the end of it all.

Respecting somebodies status is a social phenomenon that we’ve all grown up with.

Such as respect your parents, respect your teachers, respect the priest, respect your boss.. and the list goes on.

But this week at the University of Limerick, RTE showcased the Party Leaders Debate, presented by journalist Claire Byrne.

I was very impressed to see that when questions were taken from the audience, the crowd had little fear to question the big bosses and ask them about their intentions.

I think this is only right and totally necessary.

If there’s one characteristic that running candidates or party leaders should have, it’s simply to be answerable.

(Not too much to ask from a person supposedly to be trusted with the running of our society.)

The way this election is going, there appears to be an act of desperation to get in rather than a practical approach to problem solving.

Don’t get me wrong that I’m being all preaching here, I know problem solving is hard.

I just don’t understand how in my home constituency of Wicklow, giving out Valentines cards from your local TDs, “refreshing” hand wipes or talk about going on the “Ferris-wheel” is really the target to assure a prosperous government to rely on for the future.

TDs want to be taken seriously but also want to win the sort of popularity contest that is currently going on.

These concepts can clash together creating confusion among the electorate.

A new approach is needed.

I believe that each person, as a citizen of this country, should be registered to vote and be informed.

If they are not, they can easily be manipulated by the next to nothing propaganda that’s happening at the moment of party-pushing.

It should be the standing obligation of our national government to make sure people are informed about the election process.

Instead TDs are acting somewhat manipulative, not thinking of the country as a whole rather their own career gains.

In recent elections, a lot of people had a change of mind on who to vote for within the last couple of days of the election.

These are fighting times, where it could really go either way.

Power and who holds it impacts, history has taught us that on many occasions.

So I encourage you to ask the TDs the hard questions, forget about their titles and make them earn your vote instead of a feeble attempt at buying it.

A friend recently told me a piece of advice that has been passed down through her family: “people may have their titles, their success and their status: but you must remember that they use the toilet in just the same way as you or I”.