Look around you at the streets, the parks, the beaches, the shops, the churches, the various services and ask yourself a question: Who is it all for? The answer of course is that they are all for you and me. A lot of the time we look at various facilities around us as if they are only there for the visitors. Why is that I wonder? Maybe it’s understandable given our history, which is a history of things being taken away from us, in particular our freedom. So if there’s a general sense of things not being ours maybe it is no surprise: It takes time to break the colonised mindset. Of course our recent colonisers, the Church, the banks, property developers, and the rest, have as good as bankrupted our country with their greed and self interest, and blighted and shamed us with scandals and abuse.
Is there a shame now attaching to being Irish? We can console ourselves with the reality that other countries have suffered the same fate, so in the grand scheme of things we’re not all that different. But not every Irish person was responsible for the current situation, so why is there this pervasive sense that everything and everyone has failed when it is only certain sectors and certain organisations that have failed? Isn’t it another case of those in control and in leadership positions diluting their responsibility by implicating everyone? The idea seems to be that you spread the blame, then no one can point the finger so we accept what happened, avoid making judgments, and we begin to dumb down on our moral principals.
Take the hierarchical church; has the institution already started to dumb down on moral principals to accommodate its ‘human frailty’, are we all suddenly being accommodated in lowering our own standards?
Not all of us abused or victimised vulnerable children, not all of us traded our country’s future for the sake of quick and easy profits, not all of us were consumed by greed, so isn’t it time for us to take back these principles we believe in and strive for?
How dare they dumb it all down to somehow excuse their greed and evil. This is an insult to everyone who strives daily to do the right thing in spite of the attraction and reward of doing otherwise. The fact that our trusted leaders could not live up to the high standards does not mean the standards were set too high, merely that they were the wrong people to be trusted as our leaders.
So isn’t it time we took back what was ours, took back our country, took back the Church from those who used it for their own ends, took back our streets from those who intimidate and bully, took back our communities from cliques who stifle, thwart, and have a pathological fear of change? Time for us to rediscover a new patriotism, not one that involves violence but one that is about putting together a new vision that makes us all aspire to something greater than our own greed and need of security, something greater than the new cynical self-excusing ‘morality’. The streets, the parks, the churches, they are all ours, as is our right to work for a vision that inspires and challenges us. Time to retire the tired, cynical, burnt out ‘visionaries’ of yesteryear and replace them with new visionaries, time also for them to step aside and make way for new beginnings.
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