Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Regrets and hope. . . .

Obviously there are many reasons to be sad when a loved one passes away. The feelings of loss are particularly acute when one has been very close to the person that has gone. You miss the comradeship, the simple association, it didn't always have to mean a great deal but when you have been close for a very long time you have such a deep understanding of each other that the loss feels like a huge void, something which was full and real and is now just a strangely empty space. This feeling obviously cannot be described; it is too large for explanation, to big to grapple with in any normal sense.

I am feeling this injury and struggling with how to cope with it. There are many regrets and feelings of frustration.

But of all my frustrations one that stands out is that my dad passed away at a time when politics seem to have continued down a road of cruelty and selfishness in unprecedented ways. My dad was always political to a degree. His father had been a very early member of the Communist Party in England, and his sister and mother had also been members of the party. They were members of this movement when many of its members still believed in the principles of cooperation, justice, equality, peace, etc. My dad was never a member of the party. He knew that, despite the principles of the movement, the communists had failed to stand up for these principles. Like me, my dad also shied away from 'joining' things. It rubs against the grain to join political organizations at a formal level because it undermines one's intellectual liberty. But my dad was always a committed socialist in the wider sense. He believed that though the so-called market may work in some ways and in some sectors, the human race must move toward more cooperative and social solutions if we are to avoid complete barbarism.

Given his political views, views which deepened and strengthen over time, my dad had been profoundly disappointed over the past few years of his life as our politics have seemed to become less concerned with the vulnerable, less concentrated on equality and justice. My dad, like all of us, watched politics become harsher and more cruel in recent years. The transparency of government is worse, the gap between rich and poor is wider, the future of most working people is less secure. In his last years my dad tried not to think too much about these things because he wanted to be happy and enjoy, as he said, "just being alive." But there was a certain sadness in the background of his mind at the failure of people to move toward a more just and caring society.

Politics is something of a pendulum and moves from times of hope and radicalism to times of cruelty and injustice in which the rich and powerful entrench their power for a time and hold it for all they are worth. Things will change, but I am very sad that my dad passed away at cruel and right-wing swing of this pendulum.

I miss you Roy, but I will keep hope alive as well as I can, and the next generation will not give up the mantle. The struggle continues.

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