We think and see things differently
by Bob Hughes
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will declare a climate emergency this week and The Gisborne Herald is running an online poll on whether we approve. I shouldn’t be surprised that approval is running at a measly third of the vote, especially with our district councillors bucking the nationwide trend by refusing to declare one.
I also don’t think it’s too long a bow to draw a link with the 25 percent who voted for climate change denier-in-chief Trump against Biden in a Herald poll three weeks ago. Claiming climate change is a hoax and withdrawing from the Paris accord were Trump at his worst, yet he still netted 47 percent of presidential votes in the US.
Donald Trump has many hero worshippers here. Even prior to gaining the White House, his supporters were busying me on this page, and in the street, at community functions and elsewhere. Recently an adversary taunted me by producing his Trump “Make America Great Again” hat. But the biggest shock came while innocently attending a local church, to suffer a praising of Donald Trump as a man of God and saviour sent to make America, and the world, great again.
In my September 2017 “Left and right wings, same bird” column, I quoted the Collins dictionary description of capitalism as an economics-focused political system. I mentioned that both America’s Republican and Democrat parties considered leftism and socialism to be dirty words; that since the fall of the first Labour government in 1949, New Zealand’s two main political parties had embraced capitalism (Labour to a lesser extent); and that the market economy is now the driving force here, with successive governments tinkering with social welfare policies until they are shadows of the originals.
Last year while in Waikato Hospital undergoing a vascular procedure I suffered a stroke, resulting in a visual disorder called homony hemianopia. I need to take more than a glance now to perceive all before me. Without care, I can miss the obvious and also, without realising it, can draw my own picture of what’s missing by filling the gaps from my own imagination.
From the recovery-ward window after my operation, Hamilton was strangely different from the view I had seen from a similar perspective the day before. The bustling city and goings-on was within my scope of vision, but strangely I had to seek out the peaceful Hamilton lake and wildlife, which were plain to see the day before.
Had a reverse aspect of the image presented itself, most likely I would have seen the lake and natural surroundings in clear view, and the city and goings-on outside my normal scope.
I know a hemi-visual defect isn’t necessary for one-sided views and blind spots.
For example, several times since retirement I’ve been bowled off my push bike by motorists who clamed not to have seen me.
Also, it’s quite clear to me that capitalist-style market economies push consumerism, and direct our minds to ignore the inconvenient and accept their one-sided views. This trend, in its extremity, could explain why after such an abysmal showing as president, Donald Trump should still net 47 percent of the American vote, and a 25 percent approval rating against Biden in your poll here.
I admit to being polarised myself over my concern for the plight of the planet, and the threat of civilisation collapse, extinction and all.
Honestly, though, it could be my visual hemi-defect that makes me try to see from the other side, to gain clarity.
Thanks again for your polls. This is my response to these two recent ones; hopefully it stimulates deeper thinking among readers.