I wish we each acknowledged the privilege conferred on us when anyone wants to communicate with us. Isn't it wonderful to have the amazing capacity, via the internet, to hear so many expressions of others' needs/values? Many expressions of need might be tragic in the sense that they are unlikely to be met on account of how they are received; perhaps nowhere experienced more than by what pleas we hear conveyed by twitter and met by something other than love and kindness.
When presented with a wish for co-operation in problem-solving the challenge of how to close the schools whilst ensuring childcare provision for key workers, Nick Ferrari declined the implicit invitation that could have saved many lives. So too did Keir Starmer on Twitter apparently do little to help illuminate and support the (politically-risky but life-saving?) options around reuse of personal protection equipment (PPE). Appending the link to this Guardian article, the 11th April 9.04am tweet from Keir Starmer began "It is quite frankly insulting to imply frontline staff are wasting PPE". Having expressed what might be called "Righteous Indignation", the rest of the tweet could be seen as a call for empathetic understanding and taking of responsibility, or it could, for example, be taken as accusatory and blaming, untrusting and unconstructive power play:
"There are horrific stories of NHS staff and care workers not having the equipment they need to keep them safe. The Government must act to ensure supplies are delivered.." Responses to this tweet typified for me "adversarial/polarising politics". I caught myself smiling less than kindly at the first response I saw, with it's (back-handed compliment(?) to the new Labour Party leader): "At last you've found your backbone". From the government, @Helen_Whately replied: "repeating a false accusation doesn’t help anybody and it’s surely not your style. If you want nhs and care staff to have the PPE they need - as I do - surely you’d back people using the right PPE for the tasks they are doing." You might see that as a reasonable response, and so, if I share my judgment of Ms Whately's tweet as "Adversarial Score -High", what do you make of my judgment?. Of course there were twitter responses to Keir Starmer that were perhaps even less about building a shared understanding and joint plan of action; from @LonsdaleKeith replying to @Keir_Starmer: "Thank goodness you lot didn't win in December. We'd have no PPE, no Nightingale hospitals but, diversity managers on every ward." Would you agree with my judgment that @LonsdaleKeith's tweet here was "Adversarial Score -High"?
That we judge the actions of others is in our nature, what we do with those judgments a crucial choice. I asked my political secretary, as I ask you, to watch this film of an NHS worker clearly upset, and list the unmet needs that are being expressed:
"In no order. It’s amazing what a short speech can offer in terms of needs: Appreciation; Fairness; Compassion; Caring; Community; Consideration; Inclusion; Mattering; Respect; Safety; Shared reality; Support; To be known; To be understood; Ease; Order; Peace; Nourishment."I am heartened by what I perceived the impact to be of this NHS worker expressing their needs without targeting an individual, seeking to prick the collective conscience into meeting her unmet needs. What response might meet the requested caring and sharing? Perhaps the doorstep sharing (alongside decontamination kit) of whatever surplus food one has? That behaviour I have heard of in New Zealand in the midst of this broadcast promoting befriending etc
Meanwhile, sharing another YouTube film from an NHS worker, the commentary I offer is of my sadness at the expression of needs/values in ways that are unlikely to get them met:
Rather than caring for the quality of connection and the realistic ways in which behaviour is changed, the above film marks for me an impoverished culture of "shaming". Many of us grew up with "shaming" used as a technique to seek compliance with the behaviour sought from us by other family members -and may experience this still? Whilst conscience is a key energy to action, shaming is to me energy put into what Marshall Rosenberg seemed keen to call the "Domination Culture". I ask Maria Arpa of the Centre for Peaceful Solutions, who brought Marshall Rosenberg to an international conference to work between concentration camp victims in the former Yugoslavia and their captors, to share her understanding of what "Domination Culture" looks like, pre-"Pandemic Era" and in the midst of the Coronavirus "management"?
Drawing out descriptions from others of the seismic shifts we have experienced in just weeks, I now share the description of a zoom conference with strangers I attended last night:
"The Coronavirus has fundamentally reshaped our world, in ways that are still unclear. Along with immense suffering and fear, there are many silver linings: a shared awareness of our vulnerability, a shift toward collective solidarity, and a shift in our economic priorities. However, dark clouds also loom on the horizon: Fascist leaders are using this emergency moment to tighten their grip, while the apparatus of a totalitarian state is becoming normalised."
What paradigm shift are you feeding in the Pandemic Era? What Ethics? What Economics? What Politics? Together we might (in a series of co-written blog posts and replies) develop #PandemicEraEthics* [link] and from there draw out #PandemicEraEconomics and "PandemicEraPolitics"? If we take the first letter of each of these three branches of this new discipline - E for Ethics, E for Economics and P for Politics - amidst the #PPE crisis - we can be developing an antidote #EEP? Will the development of #KinderPolitics and #PandemicEra #EthicsEconomicsPolitics attract anything like the £21million to date that Captain Tom's walking for the NHS has attracted? https://PayPal.me/RefugeTreeWoods
*34 Questions drawn out (from @OpenDemocracy) about Pandemic Era Ethics
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