(And written over the course of a week; completed in shadow of event’s in Nice)
Yeh, that title. I am not trying to be clever here but, when writing about sensitive topics and using a shared language with the countless nuances which carry different meanings to different groups; well a title in English can come across as polemic, judgemental or apocalyptical none of these are my true intentions. So neutral ground then.
Firstly; when it comes to communities of humans…. nothing is simple.
How many people are you? As we journey through Life we are influenced by many factors; family, friends, politics, religion, job experience, media, relationships. Each one may leave a very strong impression. Events therefore will be seen through those influences. Maybe one holds you above all others and this is the way you see things. Me, I’m conflicted. A socialist who believes the duty of the state is to ensure the citizens can go about their daily lives without fear of any harmful activity, and thus the citizen in has a duty to play their part and not be a threat to other citizens. A Roman Catholic, with emphasis on Social Teaching; we’re all of one, and we have a covenant to each other. A public servant with a long service, taught to assist the public (in a paternalistic/maternalistic way-truth be known), knowing screw-ups happen, have cleared them up and caused them too. And a Just A Person, who says (as we all do)…What!!!????. All of these have been having their say this week, as I read so many reactions to the deaths in the USA. So what else is there to? What possible use is one more contribution? Who knows. This much is certain I cannot rest until I have had my say too.
Being conflicted only my civil service voice is the one I can use, try and avoid passing judgement when I am not there to witness much less live events.
This much I am sure of.
If one community across the swath of a nation feels it has a grievance against the way it is treated and this permeates through the various parts of that community, then something within the workings of the state is not working properly. Human nature being Human nature no one is ever going to be completely happy with the way things are run. And as far as can be discerned from Human history there has always been crime and attempts to confront that and there will always be disputes over the administration of that effort. But when that operation of the administration becomes an issue, then there is something not working properly. ‘Justly’ or ‘Fairly’ are not used here; I choose to write without emotions. Here I am an administrator. I am writing my report on something which has caused ‘Complaint’.
If the administrators of the system of operating the system set in place to minimise the effects and outbreaks of crime feel the need to or even condone the actions which cause this ‘Complaint’, then the system they are working within is not working. To an administrator the question arises is or are factors which are not supporting those who are trying to their jobs to their best of their abilities? What are the basic training and the ongoing support structure? How much has Confrontation replaced Solution. How much are the elements who should be targeted playing this system and thus hiding? If the Decision Making process within the administration feels the only response is to increase the level of Confrontation and believes it is helping its administrators by forcing that Confrontation, something is not working.
If sections of the public resolve to violence in response. Something is not working. If people who support the administration resort to profiling attacks upon the community or personal accusation in the media. Something is not working. If people resort to calls for violence or retreating behind their own social borders, something is not working.
If people die going about their work or lives by someone else’s sudden violent reaction. Something is not working.
Something is not working.
If you spend enough time in Public Administration you learn that you are at the behest of the political system which in a democracy means you get used to change and today’s Big Idea. You also hear a lot about how Someone is going to make government simpler and then they bring in a great of their own legislation to undo the previous legislation. Meanwhile they say they are going to cut bureaucracy while bringing another layer of bureaucracy to make sure the other layer is cut. And then someone decides that the Private Sector can do it more efficiently by doing it cheaper. But here are the truths. You do not do Public Service on the cheap. You cannot provide a Public Service with profit making organisations. You do not help Public Service by bringing people with only Private Sector experience; the disciplines are different. Public Services requires a strict ethos all of its own; basically I Serve to Help Run The State/The Community. This is the bottom line.
Public Service is no fun. Nor should it be. It is The Life of a Person you are dealing with. Also it is not a place where you should be able to look down your nose at someone and wave your smidge of authority in their face. I used to work in a call-centre unit and would hear folk say ‘God! I’ll be glad when today’s over! What is wrong with them today?’ and I’d be thinking ‘Have you %8@ing well heard yourself today? If I still had my management grade you and I would be having a talk about your attitude!’.
One last word on my public service aspect:
Ignore The Stats! Throw the graphs out of the window. There are too many bad managers who use them to try and beat staff with. The only ones which count are the evidence of your own eyes and the number of complaints from the public. They never help anyone.
This is not easy. It is along hard road. Everyone has to work at it. It needs leadership. It needs example. It needs courage. Politicians would be advised to step outside of their Voter Base and say ‘You Might Like to Hear This But It is For Everyone’s Good’. Pundits and Commentators should sit back and take longer and think more before they shoot off scatter-shot comments which fit into snappy one-liners. Causes should not be ‘fashionable’ to be ditched when the fun wears off and the ordinary folk are left and forgotten.
I have a great deal of fondness for the USA. I get seriously pissed off with fellow Brits who make snide and snarky comments about the USA; of course it’s a fashionable way to give way to the vicarious urge to bigotry. It would be easy to be apocalyptical and rattle off some dire warning about the collapse of Society and fall into a secret smugness beloved of commentators when writing about another country’s woes; there’s nothing new there, most countries around this world have that potential; read histories it’s all there. I respect the variety of cultures, the sense of independence that runs through the ordinary seams of life; the friendliness and the generosity of folk in their day to day business. There’s much which seems strange and difficult to work out, but that’s just the way of countries you go anywhere and things will look ‘odd’. The USA has a capacity to change and still stay itself, I wish everyone well.
But, there are folk out there who will need to take a long hard look at themselves and say ‘What am I doing to Make Things Better?’ Those who have any power to make a decision of any sort, should be asking that of themselves. And to repeat, it will be a long hard road.
And I as a citizen of The British Isles need to ask that of myself in relation to our own challenges.
Take Care All of You.
(And put aside some time and thought for the dead, dying and grieving of Nice, and Syria, and Libya and so many other places around the world)
(Translation of Title: As long as we are among humans, let us be humane. -Seneca)