Politics is People


It is so easy to lose sight of people. We are bombarded with statistics, figures on the economy, on levels of debt, on unemployment. This year is he wettest, the hottest the most floods the most fires. The figures can be overwhelming and we can so easily lose sight of the people that make up the figures. The person who must go home and tell her family she had lost her job, the impact of the repossession letter on a families life. The people who are mopping up again after another flood, and those who can only stare in disbelief as their home is engulfed by a wild fire. All these peoples lives turned upside down by political decisions, decisions that hide behind endless statistics.Jean Macdonald’s poem reminds us that politics is about real people and about what we all do.

Politics is people
What you do is what you believe
How you live and react is politics
How you run your house
Do your shopping
Where you buy your tea
No one can opt out of politics
Without opting out of life

Politics is people
People say ‘Charity begins at home’
We cannot isolate ourselves in this way
Our present lifestyle  demands
Resources from other countries
Bananas coffee tea
Oil for our cars and aeroplanes
We need to trade fairly

Politics is people
People living in poverty will be drawn like a magnet
Towards countries where they see riches
Putting up barriers to keep them out
Will only work for a time
Like a cracking damn the barriers will fail
We must decrease the levels between rich and poor
Then barriers will be needed no more
Politics is people

People say ‘They are taking our jobs’
Doctors, nurses, taxi drivers
Many less appealing jobs
Why don’t our own people apply
Perhaps it’s the low wages
Why blame those who do the jobs
Blame those who cream off the profits at the top of the pile

Politics is people
Banks encouraged us to borrow money we could not pay back
The debt got bigger and bigger
Governments and businesses joined in the great debt party with gusto
Borrowing from the earth
The resources cannot be replaced
Sooner or later the credit will be called in
We will all suffer the consequences of our overspend

Politics is people
People have become lethargic.
It’s easier to blame someone else
Politics has become privatised
No longer the business of everyone
Left to the chosen few – the politicians, the government
We know that power corrupts
But it’s easy to criticise from the sidelines

Politics is people
People who take responsibility
People who ask questions
People who have an open mind
People who look out for others
People who work for justice
People who work for peace
Politics is for everyone

Copyright Jean Macdonald
24th September, 2006
Adapted November 2012

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