Sorry it’s a letting off steam post.
We’ve got to the stage where aggressive, nasty behaviour abounds and people can be attacked for being nice. The Gary Lineaker débâcle a few weeks ago, where he was savaged for being a nice, compassionate guy a while back was a low point for me.
Here’s my theory:
We can be quick to blame politicians and the media for the state we are in, and they certainly have power and influence. I certainly wouldn’t claim they are *not* culpable.
It’s depressing to hear all the anti-immigrant, anti-thoughtful, anti-clued-up-person anti-“do-goooder” rhetoric that is out there, but maybe it isn’t a sentiment that has spread, but a noisy minority who has been encouraged by the current climate to get nastier and noisier.
The Daily Mail has had the same business model for over a century, an Andrew Marr history programme showed how they were doing similar things in 1911. They engage their readership by playing on their negative emotions. In this respect the Mail (and to a lesser extent the Express) are not *pushing* an ideology, they are reactive creations who take the existing hate of their readership and publish news in a way that legitimises the hate, bigotry and fear of their readers. In that way it is not the press publishing *their* lies, but just telling their readers “you are right, you know.”
In recent years political movements have evolved to do pretty much the same thing, and one of their targets is nice people. By which I mean the thoughtful, considered people who disagree with bigotry and ignorance. We now even have a Prime minister who says being thoughtful, compassionate and, well, nice is a bad thing and makes you “the elite”, and prejudice and ignorance is just another opinion. I mean of course you shouldn’t be mean or cruel when you disagree with people who aren’t as informed or tolerant as they could be, but there seems to be a view that an reasonable person standing up to prejudice is treated as a harridan screaming, “RACIST, RACIST!”
I’m not saying the press and political class aren’t terrible at the moment- they are, and that they aren’t culpable- they are, but the agenda they are forcing on society isn’t their own, and the whole of society shares the shame and blame. Why they are choosing to endorse that agenda in such a way is another question.
Where do we go from here- who knows. But thoughtful people should not just agree and say “I am part of the problem, I should shut up.”
If you’ve read this far, apologies for taking up your time and thank you for helping me get my head round a world that terrifies me.