For some people anger has been one of the emotions that has surfaced during lockdown. Anger can be good and act as a motivator. Gandhi said: “It is an energy that compels us to define what is just and unjust.”
Lockdown gave us many examples of injustice; not least was moving people directly from hospitals to nursing homes without even testing them for Covid-19. This was an unbelievable injustice.
Cheltenham, the Italian game and lockdown measures also spring to mind immediately. Some may argue that there will be plenty of time to analyse the Government’s handling of events, but for others it’s simply too late. That’s the bottom line. Leadership that constantly looks over its shoulder to see what everyone else is doing is poor leadership.
Through all of this we also had the ongoing government-formation-talks fiasco. Lanigan’s Ball politics – I’ll step out and you step in again, you step out and I’ll step in again.
Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens are acting as if they have the imprimatur of the people. People voted Fine Gael out of office, Fianna Fáil were not voted into office, wouldn’t dare contemplate office with Fine Gael and both parties were anathema to the Greens. Everyone agreed that people voted for change.
Power does strange things to a soul. And the pursuit of power does even stranger things. We deserve leaders who espouse integrity and live what they say. We don’t deserve people who speak out of both sides of their mouths in a blatant pursuit of power.
We have had our share of cheap ‘politicking’ as per Pat Rabbitte when he stated that pre-election promises are made to be broken. “Sure, isn’t that what you do at election time?” He’s all right Jack, after waddling away into the sunset with bulging pension saddlebags.
That’s another version of the sense of entitlement that many politicians believe in. They see themselves as a class above everyone else. This allows them to do what ‘must be done,’ regardless. We see it in the ongoing government-formation talks. It’s as if they think they have been granted a divine right to form a government. They haven’t!
We see it in the undemocratic way the civil war parties treat Sinn Féin and in doing so, shaft the will of many of the electorate. We see it in the way national media organisations treat Sinn Féin.
People who felt powerless before the last election found their voice at election time. They are now feeling angry that their voice is being slowly silenced again. Democracy, Irish style.
Franciscan Richard Rohr recently referenced his colleague Barbara Holmes’s take on a ‘theology of anger’. “We all need a way to channel and reconcile our anger with our faith … A theology of anger [for communities under siege] assumes that anger as a response to injustice is spiritually healthy. My intent is to highlight three ways that anger can contribute to spiritual restoration.
“First, a theology of anger invites us to wake up from the hypnotic influences of unrelenting oppression so that individuals and communities can shake off the shackles of denial, resignation, and nihilism … Second, a theology of anger can help us to construct healthy boundaries.
“Finally, the healthy expression of righteous anger can translate communal despair into compassionate action and justice-seeking … The question is whether or not we will recognize our wounds and the source of our anger so that we can heal ourselves and others, and awaken to our potential to embody the beloved community … Collective and productive anger redirects our attention to the everyday survival and healing of our own community….”
Politicians and the political world form part of our community, but our communities are being constantly compromised by a lack of political integrity. For too long politics has been about power. It has not served us well. We need to reclaim the politics of service. It’s time for politicians to respect the electorate.
Using a pandemic as a justification for government formation is no excuse. A government comprised of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens can only be a coalition of contradictions. Spare us Lord.