Where has all the kindness gone?

Here is another brief offering. It does not need to be lengthy because its message is straightforward. It asks the question: “Where has all the kindness gone?” and its corollary: ”Why not be kind to one another?”.

The September 25 issue of The Good Weekend featured an article titled The High Life by Jane Cadsow, which was about the excitement airline pilots experience as they fly their amazing machines around the globe. It included an image of the pilot’s console - a myriad of dials, lights and levers, arranged alongside and above them. The overwhelming aura was one of extreme complexity that bespoke the ingenuity and the skill of human thought and effort in creating such amazing machines, as well as the extraordinary skill of those that pilot them.

The image evoked in me the question: “If man can create such extraordinary things, why is it that is it so difficult to exhibit kindness and generosity to each other?” Here is my explanation. What’s yours?

A constant theme of the preacher at the church I attended in my youth was that selfishness was the worst sin of all.

To me that rings true. Selfishness is destructive.

Reflect on everyday politics, here and abroad. There we see political players trying to outdo each other to gain an advantage, grasping every opportunity to put down opponents, to demean them, to trash their reputation, to destroy their credibility, to render them impotent. It matters not how earnest their opponents are, how hard they try, how laudable their intentions, or how much they have achieved. If they are opponents, they must be put down, demeaned, castigated, humiliated, ignored, cast aside, and where possible, destroyed. Gratuitous sarcasm is a frequent accompaniment. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is a contemporary master of this. Listen to the heavy mockery, ridicule, and scorn that pervades the language he uses to describe those he dislikes or hates! Any milk of human kindness he may have in his heart is intentionally missing.

This behaviour is not confined to politicians - a contemporary example is the media’s aggressive approach to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews. The Murdoch media leads the charge. No matter how often he appears at his podium to answer questions, no matter how long he stays there to address them, no matter how plausible and authentic his answers appear to be, there are always some who remain dissatisfied and continue to pepper him with acerbic queries that insinuate that he is being devious or outright dishonest. The tone of their questions is confronting, angry, redolent with disbelief. The same players front up every day to assault him with their nasty questions. Many are propelled by the Murdoch media. Andrews knows them all; so do we! Recently, they have honed in on rumours around branch stacking, aggressively insinuating that he is guilty. They are never short of nasty questions!

What we are witnessing is what we might reasonably label The political syndrome. Of course we know it is prevalent in other than political circles, but its occurrence there is so strident, so insistent, so discordant, so distressing, that this diagnostic label suits politics better than almost any other pursuit.

Is there any counter to ‘the political syndrome’? If so, what is it? Enlighten us with your responses.

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I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?