WHAT IS THE SOURCE of this awful social poison? The evidence of its presence is everywhere. In the abuse hurled at nurses and check-out operators. In the contemptuous defiance of social-distancing rules displayed by the young couple striding down the footpath. In the commentary threads of Twitter and Facebook. In the inexhaustible malice of talkback radio. And, most disturbingly – from the perspective of someone who has spent his life writing about politics – in the almost complete absence of social solidarity amongst this country’s Opposition politicians.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
The trick, it would seem, lies in knowing what to fear. What to hate.
This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 21 August 2020.