As I sat and stared at a blank screen this morning, I wondered what to write about. On my Twitter feed I had read a tweet about the Presidential debate last night. Now as an outsider (being in Scotland) I wanted to avoid saying anything about the election that takes place in just a few weeks in the USA. But being a political being I decided to take a peek at what people were saying. So over to the BBC News website I headed. Jeez! That wasn’t a debate – that was a playground squabble!
When did we get so childish in our debating? And it’s not just with this campaign – it has been like this for so long. And it is not limited to the USA either – we here in the UK/Scotland are no better. We need grown up politicians not people who simply want to throw names around and hope that mud sticks.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic. What we need from our political leaders are level heads and reasoned argument. Not the ‘nah nah ne nah nah’ we saw last night. Or see repeated across the world.
In Scotland we have also witnessed the politicising of how the government here is handling the current situation. Our First Minister holds a daily briefing giving an update on the number of new cases, hospitalisations and deaths. She invites questions and gives straight answers. She is calm, firm, challenging when needed and reassuring when needed. Occasionally a journalist tries to ask an unrelated question and they are politely put down. And a reminder given that these briefings are about one topic and one topic only. And yet repeatedly our First Minister has faced accusations that the briefings are political. The BBC recently announced it was to stop live broadcasting the briefings – there was an outcry – and they have reluctantly back tracked a little saying they will broadcast them if there is an important announcement to be made. Now, you might be reading this thinking I am a supporter of our First Minister and her party and so giving her an easy ride. I am not. I am a card carrying member of another political party. But I can be impressed when, in the midst of crisis, I see leadership that is assured and gives me confidence. I only need to look at the UK Prime Minister to see the antithesis of this.
What I am looking for in my political leaders is a genuine desire to work together to guide us through the unprecedented times. I say that knowing the for some parts of the world, for some generations these day are not unprecedented. But I have never known anything like it. I have never had my life curtailed in the way it currently is. I have never had to carry a face covering around with me before. Keys, purse, face mask… the new going out routine. Things are easier now than they were, but we live in fear that the restrictions of six months ago may be reimposed if we don’t get on top of the virus. I need reassurance from our leaders. I need to hear what needs to be done, how I can play my part and see that mirrored by those in leadership. I need words of reassurance – not to be shouted at like a naughty child. I need to be thanked for doing my bit. And I need our political leaders to be working together and not seeing this a yet another battle ground for a shouting match.
My prayer is that this virus reduces in its impact and that a vaccine is found sooner rather than later. My pastoral response is to do what I can to reduce the spread. I will love my neighbours by wearing a face covering when out and about, my limiting my contact with other people outside our household and by washing my hands regularly and using hand sanitiser whenever presented with it. I will do unto others by doing all of this.
Stay safe, stay well friends. Thank you for all you are doing to limit this dreadful virus.
Rev Shuna Dicks is a Church of Scotland minister based at Cults Parish Church in Aberdeen’s suburbs. She lives in the Manse with her hubby Neil, two dogs, an elderly cat and occasioning during this time her children.
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