12Mar Showing respect for flag, nation, and electors

The Tricolour; The anniversary of 1916; The aftermath of the Election:

We had a funeral yesterday. Eddie was an ex-army man. The family and friends lived up to the best tradition of an Irish wake – stories, yarns, memories were spun together. (Not including the drink aspect!) The participation of so many at the funeral (with all the tasks) was very impressive. The soldiers came with the Tricolour. The attention and respect was very moving. This week the schools will also have that moment with the Flag and with the Proclamation. And I was thinking.

Eddie spent the last nine weeks in hospital. He wanted to get out of the hospital to vote on Election day. The family tried everything possible to get him a vote but there was no way around the protocols. He was too late for a postal vote. He would have to come out. He wanted his clothes. The hospital said that five people would be needed to bring him to the voting station. However he fell in the hospital the day before and didn’t manage to vote. He was deeply disappointed with that. So I have been thinking of his effort to vote and thinking of the Tricolour at the funeral and wondering about those who didn’t bother to vote and the carry-on of those who were voted in.

The squabbling and childishness of many of the TDs dishonours the flag and our country. It isn’t entirely the fault of those who were elected. Many were elected on simplistic rhetoric and we elected them. Many of us voted on local political needs and promises. Did we forget the state the country has been in? Did we forget the year of the mighty promises? (1977). Are we so short-termism in our thinking that our minds blank over what we don’t want to remember? How often does it sound as if we all were a crowd of children: ‘Give me. Give me. I want. I want.’ Of course we would all love to have no property tax or no water charges and the best housing and the best medical services and the best education possible. How local and how parochial and how sectional so much of our voting was? All the bombast on throwing money at everything with no mention of where than money might come from, is mindless nonsense. (I shouldn’t go local after what I said – but I hear some now talking of fairness and more but the same ones lost a Primary Care Unit by their foolishness in this constituency).

Should we freeze the salaries of the elected until some of them become sensible? Isn’t it fascinating too how fearful and how self-righteous the main parties are in regard to Sinn Fein and yet we expect Sinn Fein to work with the DUP in N Ireland? And the DUP to work with them– but our parties can’t be contaminated by such contact. And Sinn Fein themselves also talk much drivel as if they feared the responsibility of governing. So much is very petty and lacks sense, civility and subtlety. I wonder how many of our TDs or parties either respect the vote (above all for a government) and respect the Flag on this the anniversary of 1916? Should we be looking for a technocrat to lead a government and leave all the politicians to prattle away in opposition! (Even Italy could teach us) .

However, I shouldn’t be so negative about the electorate and the politicians when I remember how shallow we often we have been in our Church- thinking? Faith should be imaginative, reflective, graceful, big-hearted and awesome. Too often it has been cold, robotic, mechanical and crudely simplistic. Francis has spent the past three years trying to rescue us from our own misreading of the realities of Christ and Gospel and Church. Yes, I should be more gentle with our politicians and the electors – we probably all suffer from the same ‘sin’ of today. The immediate and the superficial and obvious is all we can cope with.

Seamus Ahearne osa


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