People Before Money

Why are our right wing political “followers” so reluctant to choose society over economy – people over money – saving lives over more deaths?

The answer is simple…

Because their political power comes from the elites, the people who use their power within society to get what they want from it damn others, the people who send their children to the elite schools to build those powerful connections, the people who were bailed out in the GFC and then gave each other massive bonuses while the ordinary people felt the direct pain from their blunders, the people who do not send their own sons and daughters to war but agitate for expansion of influence and power to increase sales and wealth.

And these are the same people that will be in the front of the queue for any COVID-19 vaccine and/or effective treatments when they become available while others will have to wait in the hope that it arrives for them in time in an affordable manner.

There are few people in Australia who can talk with greater authority on this subject than me, and while that might sound brash, if you stick with me through this I will explain in personal detail why and I doubt that you will see it that way by the end.

When Morrison cries for business owners and employees I know it to be either crocodile tears or misinformed or naive.

Why do I know that? Because I grew up in a household which lived under the chronic stress of financial pressure so intense that we had become certain that any day the bank might foreclose on our business and our home, a family farm that had been owned originally by my Great Grandfather.

The pressure was so great that as a teenager I had to have the courage to stand up and literally save the people that I love from catastrophe. To save those people from embarrassment I will not go into detail of what I was called on to do, but believe me when I say that it is truly shocking and it has impacted my entire life and was a major factor in me having a breakdown and feeling overwhelmed by other life pressures as an adult.

What I kept repeating that night, while I was still yet to complete high school, was “how could you do this?”

For over a decade I did not process what had occurred, and it was never discussed again by the people involved. It was like a fuzzy dream, in reality a nightmare that even as I began to recall the events to a psychologist many years later were disjointed in my recollection. I began to understand the impact only in my 30s when visiting I lay awake all night alert to any movement throughout the rooms in case it was going to happen again.

Now I know that hard-hearted right wingers will be jumping for their faux tissues and suggesting that all of this supports their argument of needing to save the economy and livelihoods even if the cost of doing so is losing the lives of some more vulnerable people, the elderly or those with existing conditions.

Now that I have resolved all of what happened to me I realise that my repeated question that night – “How could you do this?” – was much deeper than related to that one incident.

In reality my question was how could you allow this to happen, that a family has been transformed into believing that what it does is more important than the family itself. 

That the external thing – the business, the farm (though in other families it could equate to infinite other things like the house) – was more important than the family. 

That somehow none of us was as important as keeping this “thing”, and that our lives and us as individuals was just collateral damage to that aim.

It took me a long time to stop being angry about that, and in truth there are times when that anger can be aroused again. 

Mostly I feel sad. Sad for what was lost; what I lost; and what we all lost.

So I tell anyone who is prepared to listen, I do not underestimate the stress that financial hardship causes for I know it well. But I equally know that we, especially in English-speaking countries, have progressively come under the spell of the “greed is good” credo that sees most of society competing to get one up on others.

We must realise that money and things are not the most important aspect of our lives. It is not our “things” that will be sitting next to us, tears streaming holding our hand to comfort us, when we depart this world. What we will have in our hearts is people and we will remain in theirs.

If there is anything positive to come from this pandemic, let if be that people are more important than money! And let humanity together live in that realisation!

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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2020

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