There are always small moments where you can peek behind the curtain at the state of things, flashpoints where everything is laid bare for the eyes to see. Significant levels of civil unrest, political turmoil and an ever-deepening chasm between power and people are on display, and are all happening at once. I think there’s a real disconnect between those who are supposed to handle things on our behalf and the people who are supposed to be helped.
Take the recent incidents of racial abuse targeting footballers online. Twitter and Kick It Out have had conversations to try and achieve the most desirable outcome, but there are clear, glaring obstacles that are difficult to overcome. Whilst a hooligan can get banned from a stadium for chanting verbal abuse at a player, the anonymity that the internet provides means that there is no accountability when this abuse takes an online firm. All it takes is a smartphone and anyone can send abusive messages from the comfort of their own home. Both parties know that, at this moment in time, it would be an impossible task for Twitter to regulate over 330 million accounts without resorting to a level of censorship that would negatively impact everyone on the platform. And so, the footballers are left having to take the abuse with no readily-available solution.
Then you have the government and Parliament, both in pandemonium over Brexit. None of the chaos that has arisen since the referendum result has been because of choices that constituents have made, but rather the apathetic approach that elected representatives have taken for their own partisan motives. And so, the people are left having to witness a circus take place in the capital, with no tangible idea of how the decisions made (or lack of) will affect them and their livelihoods.
Are we expected to sit and watch like well-behaved children? The power that we have ceded to individuals with our best interests supposedly at heart has been corrupted and misused. I’m not suggesting revolution or uprising, but maybe a realignment of how we view people in power, because power doesn’t choose people; people choose power. The fallacy of divine kings and queens is being perpetuated by entitled people who will sell you the notion that they know best for you and that they are qualified to reside over a nation. We have already quashed this once, that it isn’t God that anoints a leader, no one is sacred or above rational scrutiny.
There is, of course, only so much personal responsibility that can one take before you reach the limit of how much distance you can cover. But once we see those in power as nothing more than ordinary, we will become more careful with who we choose to bestow power upon and demand better from them.
What if you’re right, and they’re wrong?