Comparison — the sickness of our age

Take Donald Trump (please, someone, take him . . . far away) : his defence of the indefencible is to basically say, “I’m not as bad as Bill Clinton.”

Take Theresa May (again, please, someone . . . ) : her argument for grammar schools is not about giving as many as possible the best — it is about helping you to compare your child with other children and, through a particular kind of testing hopefully discover that your child is “better” than this child and gets opportunities they don’t. I think, from this logic, the point is if you don’t have people who are in a different, better, separate tier of society then how do any of us know our place and how well we are doing? The litmus test for us in life, after all, is comparing ourselves with each other. Lets get our children doing that as early as possible.

This stuff gets most of us nowehere and a few of us to the top.

The thing with Trump is, the “best” that American politics has to offer is not even a question. There is nothing left in the presidential debate about character, truth, integrity, honour, respect, humanity, goodness . . . I don’t know, take those away and stick in whatever kind of quality you might hope for in a friend. Now, has Trump got those qualities? It doesn’t apparently matter — and, while we are on it — it doesn’t seem to matter what Hilary has previously said or done. Maybe, if the only comparison we can make is between the two of them she might be the “least worst” . . . but only to those of us who can’t vote. America remains divided.

The thing with grammar schools is that evidence of them being “better” doesn’t matter. Kent, which has a load of them still, does not produce young people out of the end of the grammar school process that do vastly better than children who have not been to a grammar school . . . it just doesn’t. This is not about facts, evidence, truth, valuing everyone in society, giving the best to all our children. Those making the proposals and who will determine whether we have more grammar schools or not are driven by an ideology of comparison and betterment.

I don’t know that I have ever been so disgusted with the level of debate and discussuon in the public sphere about things that matter as I am right now.

There is a failure of imagination, creativity and hope. There is no higher standard against which our leaders seem to be measuring their choices and decisions. It is disheartening, appalling, shameful and — I can’t see how things will change. There is a better place and a hope that I have, but it is based on the renewal of all things — when everything will be in its rightful place — I am longing for the day to come.

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