(Viewing a polling booth for an election in Ukraine)
My recent experience in Ukraine has brought home to me how much is hidden or disguised from view of the public in our society by a curtain of illusion, misinformation and downright lies.
It was quite evident during the election in Ukraine, because of the arrogance of the governing party that little effort was made to hide any of their actions. This is not to suggest that nothing was hidden. During the whole election process, little was as it appeared. This was used as a means to intimidate and control. It worked on many people, but not on all.
Maybe it is time to start a reflection on our own society, its inequities and the all too rapid decline of our democratic governance. Much of what is happening to and with people has been hidden by the manipulation of statistics and analysis meant to baffle and confuse.
The current approaches by governments to curtail the release of even this suspect information and destroy any type of scientific research should be sounding alarm bells that society as we envision it is under duress; even at risk. Even more alarming should be growing restrictions to the access of any information.
As example of statistical inadequacies, one could point to the manipulation of employment information, which is adjusted seasonally and otherwise to disguise the real levels of unemployment and mask the realities of the effect upon people.
The lack of clarity relating to the personal, psychological and family ramifications of high or inadequate employment is astounding. The portrayal of the poor as abusers of the system of programs and support is immoral. None of this flawed information allows understanding of the real characteristics of those disadvantaged and marginalized in our society.
Perhaps even more significant, is the plight of the elderly hidden from the view of even the most discerning eyes, many now warehoused or kept invisible by their infirmities, poverty or despair.
The physically and mentally challenged are provided for with “care in the community” and hardly statistically recognized. The most visible of these are the multitudes of homeless roaming the streets and alleys of most cities. While some efforts are made to accommodate them, it is not evident that the community really cares.
One could site much more evidence that should be of concern to all, including the debt load that most endure.
This is hardly what one would expect from a supposedly intelligent and enlightened society, where the apparent wealth of those who have, provides stark contrast to those without. It must be remembered that this gap between these two layers of society is growing rapidly.
It is becoming apparent that our society predominately believes that the only responsibility of an individual in society is to themselves. The concept of communal obligation appears to have been minimized, if not forgotten. Everyone, even if disadvantaged, is on their own.
More enlightened societies share responsibilities among individuals, families and communities.
Much of the current dilemma has resulted from the government’s willingness, over the past generation, to take on more responsibility for many facets of people’s lives. This had a price. Responsibility was exchanged for votes, which led to more governmental power and higher taxes, to which most willingly agreed.
This acquired control and power has become more important than the people governed.
The future now appears bleak. Governments are attempting to push responsibility back upon people, but without returning the power, control or the resources that the taxation provides.
These resources are now required just to maintain the functioning of the systems created by a myriad of political masters over many years with ever more central control. Much of the capital available provides incentives and payments to finance the private-public partnerships that have become the mantra of most governments.
Governments seem to ignore the fact that the private sector, by its very structure and philosophy, requires profit for its activities. This same private sector is abandoning its responsibilities in employment generation, retirement support and its support to the communities. These communities are usually the providers of much of the fundamental infrastructure for its operation.
Perhaps, it is now time for people to begin to take back fully the responsibilities, which they have so willingly given to politicians, institutions and organizations that now overwhelm.
It is becoming obvious that the curtain, used to hide these truths, is becoming threadbare. The light is dawning on many, gradually exposing the fallacies of what we have come to believe and what has been hidden in the darkness. It paints a gruesome picture of life for many and their ranks are growing.
Maybe it is opportune to pull back this now shabby curtain and let the light shine fully on the realities and inequities that are embodied in the society that has been created by the current generation.
It is time, once again, for everyone to share more fairly, the responsibilities that are part of any progressive and humane society; even those who have gained most economic advantage through the lie that only they have worked hard and earned it.
Written By Bill Pardy,
October 18th, 2012