Sometimes I wish politics could just reframe the question.
Not about what we as a society think about homosexuality,
but what we think of the idea of denying other people love.
Not about what we as a society think about £10 more a month,
but what we want our collective lives to be.
Not about what we as a society think a woman’s place should be,
but what we as a society think about dictating places based on gender in the first place.
Not about how much immigration costs,
but how we as human beings can argue about other lives in terms of incomes and outgoings.
Not about how much we should pay in tax,
but about whether we think it’s reasonable that people are denied healthcare or life saving treatments based on how much money they have in their pockets.
I wish we could all just look up from our individual lives and see the bigger picture.
"Politicians are all the same, it doesn’t matter who you vote for."
“Don’t vote, it just encourages them.”
“The pharmaceutical industry is so messed up, I only do alternative medicine these days.”
“I rely on homeopathy, non of that dodgy pharmaceutical stuff.”
To my middle-class, healthy, white friends who post this shit on facebook:
So, important institutions are at risk and are being compromised and your solution is to give up and let it all fall apart?
Why can you choose this solution, why can you choose to give the finger to both democracy and to medicine? Because you’re priviliged, most likely.
Because to you, it doesn’t matter which party comes to power, because your life will likely stay the same. To you it doesn’t matter if we have a racist party in parliament, because you’re part of a priviliged group of white people. To you it doesn’t matter if the parties speak for or against austerity because you don’t have to rely on the institutions of the state to get through your life. To you it doesn’t matter if one party will persecute immigrants because you are not one of them. To you it doesn’t matter that education becomes privatised because you’ll find a way to provide for your childrens education anyway, or you plan not to have any and you do not care about the welfare of society as a whole.
And to you, it doesn’t matter if the clinical research is screwed up, because you don’t have a chronic disease and neither does anyone close to you. You don’t have to bother your brain with thoughts of trial data going missing or researchers being biased because for you, all you need is a cup of green tea and a sandwich and your morning is complete, as opposed to the millions of people who rely on medicines to even be able to function, and to whom these things are matters of life and death. It doesn’t matter to you that homeopathic remedies have never been proven to be more effective than placebo because your ailments have never been crippling in the first place. You don’t have to read the books, lobby for change, visit your GP or your specialist doctor regularly or be treated for life threatening conditions. You are priviliged enough to grab some advice from some blog online and go on a banana detox and chew some kale and think that somehow that could work for everyone. Nothing bad about kale or a good diet, but wake the fuck up, not everyone’s choice is that simple.
Many people depend on medical science for their lives, and if we, who don’t or at least don’t yet, take our eyes off the ball, and sit on our priviliged thrones of alternatives remedies that haven’t even been proven to work, and tut at the medical science, and won’t apply ourselves, and won’t try to fix what’s wrong with the pharmaceutical industry, we’re telling millions of sick people that they’re on their own. They are stuck in a fucked up situation, with fucked up corporations, fucking with their lives, and we, who have the privilige not to bother about whether drug A or drug B will save our life, sit there with a mug of green tea and preach about the wonders of the alternative.
It’s not an alternative for everyone.
And we, who are able to work, who are part of the priviliged groups, who won’t be struck down unto the ground by austerity policies and to whom it doesn’t much matter in our day to day lives whether party A or party B wins, we are telling the people less priviliged than us, less empowered, less able to work, less well off, that they’re on their own. That we won’t vote for parties that make a REAL difference in their lives and that we won’t stand against racism, sexism, classism, or any other oppressive force, because this particular oppression doesn’t apply to us. We can choose not voting and being flippant about it.
It’s not a choice for everyone.
So, can we stop for a minute and think about the other people around us? The people who need us, all of us, to lobby for a better health care and for better medical science and research and for better institutions and for better democratic accountability and for better justice systems and for better care, and stop lifting our hands out of the democratic processes that include all of us and leave the heavy lifting to the oppressed, the sick, the poor and the one’s not priviliged enough to turn away from democracy or science based medicine?