I am not usually in any kind of identifiable mood, or even frame of mind, when I sit down to write one of these blogs, or, if I am, and the mood can’t be traced to a definable source, I don’t write the blog. Today I am in an identifiable frame of mind. I wouldn’t classify it as a mood, since that would be disparaging both of myself and of others who woke up this morning feeling as I do about our current (unelected) Prime Minister and her government.
I also find myself wondering, among other things, whether incompetence is a sin. Genuine incompetence probably isn’t, so the sin must lie with whoever put an incompetent person in such a position of power. They are directly responsible for what that person says and does.
To return to the question of mood, then, I realise I need to re-focus my feelings away from the incompetent Prime Minister and on to those who hold the real power, who are presumably controlling her. Being controlled is the price she is paying for the fleeting satisfaction of winning a power contest. All power comes at a price. Our Prime Minister pays a minimal portion of that price, insofar as it will come from any reserves she still has of conscience and self-respect. The rest of us, who must live with the consequences of her government’s policies (which have a tendency to change direction with the winds of political expediency), pay the price.
It is these long-term consequences over which we and future generations will have no control which make many of us justifiably angry. The question we are faced with, then, is how to channel this anger into something that is peaceful, democratic and ultimately redemptive.
There are two areas in which this can be done, I believe; the social and the personal. The social involves coming to a broad spectrum of agreement about what is fundamentally and morally wrong in any one government’s or leader’s actions and acting or speaking together, to confront and correct that wrongness – or sin, perhaps. This, Europe and the West is now doing in regard to Russia and Ukraine. Confronting unrighteousness in this way amounts to a collective act of faith.
The other, the personal, involves something similar, but on a different level or dimension. It involves channelling righteous anger to the Highest Court of Appeal, into that space within ourselves which we might call God, or which goes by another name according to personal conviction, but which is essentially pure and good. We all have such a presence within us.
I say righteous anger, not as a kind of moral judgment on anger itself. Not all anger is righteous, since it too often involves selfishness, or fear of something being taken from us, or levelled at us, which feels either undeserved or is simply wounding to one’s ego. But righteous anger does give us permission to feel something personally. It includes feeling angry about wounds we may have endured on a personal level, but which give rise to an anger that is felt on behalf of others, of future generations, of the very young, the very old, or of those whose lives can be blighted by unrighteous laws.
This is where history has shown us that good political engagement begins. It begins in righteous anger, or anger that is fueled by love. Apply all this thinking to a government whose chief motivation seems to lie in protecting the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the earth, and of society’s most vulnerable, and it becomes a mood changer.