Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Representative of the Common Man?

I was listening, recently, to an interview in which an Irish businessman was outlining the necessity of capitalism. It was a familiar story: those who create wealth for all must have the reward of affluence to motivate their efforts. That wealth is then divvied up among all; he would acknowledge that there were basic entitlements at the lower end e.g. education, a home etc. His philosophy acknowledges that greed is a driver for humankind, and inequality is an inescapable aspect of it all. So be it.

Part of the reward for wealth, though, is the belonging to a class that can ‘afford’ privilege; privilege that permeates all facets of life, that is passed onto succeeding generations, deserving or not. Within a skip and a hop from that philosophy then, we have the divided society in which many are set for cannon fodder (or one of its peacetime guises) and others to be part of the elite who can enjoy uninterrupted comfort through the privations of others.

This, then, leads me to wonder how anyone can imagine that someone like Donald Trump can possibly be a suitable representative for the American in the street.

Margaret.     (d. 1961)
Child that played and skipped
and ran, 
climbed among the trees
when the adult was as far away
as death itself;

woman in a countryside
of old men and their wives
turning spidery;
rain and years
between herself and old age;

London: Irish skivvy, 
that rolling unrolling knot
of mop, bucket and woman 
paid with poverty for accepting

Spitalfields and squalor;
a dark coat, bark-rough face
beaten to a glower;
culprit and victim,
drink took them both.

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