Rule Number 1 of Christmas Day: Don’t mention politics on Christmas Day.
Rule Number 2: Always remember rule Number 1.
I had several reports of people who, sure that they weren’t one of ‘those’ families, decided to ignore the rules. I’m not sure what’s worse, ignoring the rules, or the realisation that your cool brother in law isn’t really cool with repealing the 8th?
For so many of us the Christmas dinner table is the first time outside of our echo chamber since, well, last years Christmas dinner.
The peculiar thing is that we, being so wise, are so taken aback by the differences of opinion across the turkey and ham table. Of course, we’ve spent all year saying that the opinion polls are crap and that there’s no way 56% of people think socks, selfies and spin make a good Taoiseach.
The realisation that we are wrong makes swallowing the customary Brussels sprouts all the more difficult. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow. Around the table the right wing (I’m a centrist!) agenda of apathy and I’m alright Jack conversation flows.
Many think, no, many believe that Fine Gael and not the sacrifice of the Irish people rescued the country. Many think, no, many are adamant that the government are doing a good job. Many, many more are opposed, down to their Indo-reading bones, with the idea of left wing concepts.
They are not the problem. We are. We’ve wasted 364 days talking to each other about the wonderful ideas we all agree on. We’ve engaged with anonymous trolls who are nothing but time vampires. But we never spoke to the people around our dinner table.
We’ve squabbled about Labour’s place on the Left. We’ve decried concessions as selling out. We’ve reduced left wing cohesion to a Brendan Ogle column in the Sunday Business Post. Worst of all, we have allowed the tsunami of the water movement to be reduced down to a Phil Hogan trickle.
Something has to change and it starts at the dinner table. It starts with joining the dots.
We join the dots. Whenever Leo Varadkar says that salary increases could endanger the economy WE must point out the hypocrisy of him getting a €21,000 pay rise.
We join the dots. When your brother says that it’s a testament to the strength of the economy that Ireland has repaid Denmark’s €400m loan early ask him does that house any of the 3,333 homeless children.
We join the dots. When an old friend explains that she knows a family looking for help from St Vincent De Paul who have two televisions, ask her why that’s a crime and screwing 40,000 Tracker Mortgage holders into debt (and death) for nearly a decade is not.
We join the dots. When your pal in your local says that the multinationals will leave if we make them pay tax, explain that we are, according to the OECD, the best tax haven in the world YET only get one sixth of the jobs from Multinationals that non havens do.
At every water cooler moment we join the dots. At every lazy newspaper Op-ed we join the dots. We forget about infighting. We forgive ourselves and others for slights and we take the fight to the barrage of bullshit that is the machinery of State.
We act as our own Strategic Communications Unit, our goal/mission statement/blue sky thought is simple: Join the Dots!
Join the dots. That’s my New Years Resolution. That’s this blog. That’s the Echo Chamber Podcast. That’s my Twitter timeline. That’s my dinner table.
We join the dots in 2018. You’re welcome to join me.