Friday, June 01, 2007

on Tony Blair's resignation.

May 10th 2007 (sorry, took me a while to post).

So Tony Blair resigned today. Resigned. I mean, he doesn't leave office until June 27th, but he's quit; ten years after a six year old me marched around my london house during elections chanting "to-ny-bleughr!", on the conviction from my conservative-voting father that he was "the bad guy", along with the added justification of my views that he was the head of some "party" (which confused me immensely-surely the running of the country is not to be intermeshed with such jovialities as parties?) whose color was red, and whose name was "Labour" (British spelling out of respect). Yeah, labour-you know, that thing women go into screaming and bleeding-blood-you know, the red stuff?...these links were sufficient logically in my six-year-old mind to confirm my father's claim, and so I was duly quite disappointed when he was elected prime minister.
I then took my place to sit back & ignore politics for the rest of my childhood-stepping back in only recently, at the revelation that, everywhere I looked, everyone seemed to hate the leader of their country. No society seemed to be capable of electing a suitable leader and sticking with them. Deeming this a pretty ridiculous situation, I decided to re-evaluate my own views. All I could see was that there was a war going on, for which the justification was disturbingly vague and disputed, and which the public were being, on the whole, disturbingly light-hearted about; it was on every comedy sketch around. Terrifying.
Yet, although I was witnessing all of this in Britain, I didn't have anything really against Blair; I mean, I didn't hate him. I knew how hard 9/11 had hit; to watch such a horrific thing happen in what I still consider to be my country on t.v. when I was ten years old was the most crushingly, unbearably terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. I was at boarding school at the time, and, without any trusted sources nearby to convince me otherwise, I walked around terrified and cried myself to sleep every night for over a month because I thought something that terrible happening meant the world was going to end. And, even within the sheltered environment I was in, I was pretty aware that the horror and outrage was public concensus. If we're being honest here (which we are-no lies in my blog, honey), whether or not the two were in fact linked, it looked it, and at a time when there was mass fear and paranoia, and such a huge threat sitting at our doorstep, the most dangerous thing that anyone, let alone the prime minister, could do, was to appear in any way un-patriotic or not as outraged as everyone else.

((NOTE: I am not saying that I ever thought of this war, or any war for that matter, as justified; I don't pretend to know anything about politics, but plain common sense and logic tells me that there must be a better way of dealing with a problem than just killing people. I mean, seriously-
"I want to do this."
"I disagree."
"Ok, well, how about we talk about it and try to sort something out?"
"Ah, screw it. We're not getting anywhere here, let's just send out a bunch of people to kill eachother-whoever kills the most wins?"
"Great idea! Let's go-race ya to the conscription ads!!"
Wow. And these are the smartest people we can find; the ones we've chosen to be in control of the world. That is impressive.))

So, yeah, from my uneducated-on-such-matters teenage point of view, he should have taken the risk, but I don't know if I would have. With the world-power equivalent of a mentally challenged eight year old kid running around holding a hand gun, in the form of the United States under the bush administration (which I refuse to capitalize), breathing down my back, I might have done the same. (although, that is one of the reasons why we do not elect sixteen year old world leaders, and why I do not currently intend on running for president).
The point is that we are all human, and we all make mistakes, given, some have much larger scale repercussions than others, but when a person tells me that "Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right.", that's a person I can forgive. I have a lot more to expend my energy on hating across the Atlantic, and besides, with Blair in power, I've felt undeniably, inexplicably safe.
And that's what struck me today when I watched what looked like a man (keep reading, I'm not suggesting he is in some way androgynous), who wasn't allowed to explicitly admit he'd done anything wrong, trying to apologise; despite his funny ears, despite his decision to back faith schools' veto to section 28, despite raising his children into a religion, despite all of his mistakes, I can't deny that I felt a loss.
A loss, I guess, of the sense of security that comes from having had a leader for so long that he crops up in one of your earliest memories, and an unexpectedly tangiable fear of the unknown, made even more dangerously real by the constant, stark reminder just an eight hour flight away of what can happen when the wrong person ends up in power.



post scriptum

"you don't have to be a pilot to fly in the R.A.F." oh god, you don't? Christ, who's flying the planes then??!! hahaha, I know I just said that the situation should not be used as comic fodder, but what a perfect illustration of the stupidity of it all.

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