Dr Liz Gordon: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

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It’s great to get to the end of 2019 with my enthusiasm for blogging undimmed. My obsessions this year have mainly focused of the Thoughts of Chairman Trump, the Kindness of Jacinda Ardern and the potential for carving out of a new post-neoliberal political platform.  With, of course, a few dollops of life, love and intrigue thrown in. It has been a year, I suppose like most but more so, of hopes and fears. We are living in interesting times.

Things are going quite well in Aotearoa. The scope for transformative reforms in education, ACC, social welfare and justice is high, although the government has been short on gestures of goodwill. In particular, the opportunity to abolish abatement rates in a range of areas, and in particular the appalling injustice that woman get a hunk sliced off their already inadequate family benefits if they do not name the father of the child, has been bypassed.  The leadership in the social development area has not, I think, been strong.

I agree with the commentators who say that Andrew Little has spanned the justice and related portfolios like a Colossus of Rhodes.  Isn’t it interesting that he was like a damp squib as Labour leader, but in his current role is just marvellous? However, the pressure will be piling up on him (as on all of the government ministers) for fewer words and more action.

But internationally, 2019 is shaping up as a year of unmitigated turmoil. Trump is now out of control.  He has busted out of the childcare centre and is set to impose his infantile excesses upon us all. I was interested in the words of the NY Times correspondent Thomas Friedman, wrote: “People wanted disruption, but too often Trump has given us destruction, distraction, debasement and sheer ignorance.” And, I think, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

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And Brexit, that doomed project is nigh and the path of self-destruction of the country of my birth is well set. Men like Boris Johnson and Jacob-Rees-Mogg have had free rein to tell their lies to the public.  They are the Trumpinista of the UK, driven by a sexist, racist and classist ideology to re-invent the colonial dream and “Make Britain Great Again”.

I don’t want to make predictions for 2019 because my thoughts are bad, and yet I fear the reality we will all face will be worse. I think the world will survive the year, but may end up much worse.  I fear the rise of the extreme right in so many countries.

Still, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  For some women, 2018 has been a very strong year. The #MeToo movement has given energy in women’s fights for equal pay and against sexual harassment. Maybe after another 2 years of Trump, the USA will elect its first woman President, perhaps on a platform of kindness to all (and telling the truth occasionally).

Thank you for those who have read my column this year.  Remember that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Kia kaha, be strong. Happy New Year.

 

Dr Liz Gordon began her working life as a university lecturer at Massey and the Canterbury universities. She spent six years as an Alliance MP, before starting her own research company, Pukeko Research.  Her work is in the fields of justice, law, education and sociology (poverty and inequality). She is the president of Pillars, a charity that works for the children of prisoners, a prison volunteer, and is on the board of several other organisations. Her mission is to see New Zealand freed from the shackles of neo-liberalism before she dies (hopefully well before!).

12 COMMENTS

  1. Happy new year Liz.
    “But internationally, 2019 is shaping up as a year of unmitigated turmoil. Trump is now out of control. He has busted out of the childcare centre and is set to impose his infantile excesses upon us all. I was interested in the words of the NY Times correspondent Thomas Friedman, wrote: “People wanted disruption, but too often Trump has given us destruction, distraction, debasement and sheer ignorance.” And, I think, we ain’t seen nothing yet.”
    Trump is the president of the united states of America. He was elected in what claims to be the world’s greatest democracy to that position. He isn’t supposed to be under anyone’s control however much those who didn’t vote for him might like him to be. Get over it.
    If his infantile excesses giving us “destruction, distraction, debasement and sheer ignorance” ,relates to pulling the troops out of Syria and Afghanistan , as it would appear to, then lets all go back to preschool.
    D J S

  2. “Remember that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
    Jesus! That’s comforting. We have a 50/50 chance then? Better odds than lotto, I’ll give you that.
    As for ‘living in interesting times’? These are interesting times if by interesting you mean bland, bleak, boring, desperate and being homeless while sharing louse and arse-worm stories is ‘interesting’ then yes, these are interesting times.
    These are not interesting times, though, are they? Not really.
    Fat fuck politicians are still flying 1st class. I still see that lovely old toothless, homeless fellow begging in K Rd, I see scabby kids swigging fizz and eating chips as the main meal of the day, I see that fuck jonky blauting about his foreign anz plaything making a $2 bil annual profit, the scum fucking traitor. I see the view through the windscreen of my car as I drive between where I live and where I need to go all I see are images. It gives me nothing back. I see signs on dip shit cowsploiter paddocks proclaiming they’re ‘proud fonterra farmers’.
    These, are not interesting times. They’re boring, tough times. They’re beige times. These are anxious times and I , like many others, are scared shitless at the very near future, much less the distant one that old coots like me ( who were once young , naive, strong, fit, virile, in my case men, who could run and fight and fuck with the best of the rest. ) will never see.
    But now? What are we? We’re either winners or losers. We’re either dead or winners.
    That’s not being ‘human’. That’s being an algorithm. That’s being a number on a page. We’re just a statistic that remains useful provided it keeps generating other winners to work ever harder for the software designer.
    You seen The Matrix by the fabulous Wachowskis? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wachowskis
    Remember in that scene where the Neo character realises he’s nothing more than a human battery in a pod being harvested by an alien species?
    Drive through Rolleston of an evening… ? I dare you.
    Our minds are not our own and our lives are less than we deserve.
    So don’t anyone give me the ‘Oh well, never mind’s’.
    Fuck that! I say; Riot! Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!Riot!
    That’s all I’m saying.

  3. P.S. Dr Gordon.
    I super enjoy your Posts by the way.x
    Merry New Year and Happy bouts of non stop and gleeful OMG’s! for 2019.

  4. Believe me i am no fan of trump.but please tell me that when you speak of “the USA will elect its first woman President, perhaps on a platform of kindness to all (and telling the truth occasionally)” that you are not referring to (we came, we saw, he died, cackle cackle) clinton, staunch friend of wall street?

    • This is a good point. No, never been a Hilary fan. But raises an even more interesting question that the stock of even vaguely transformative women leaders in the Democratic Party seems very sparse. I think we need to look outside that, and especially to women of colour, for such leadership. But you need incredible wealth to become president or at least for the wealthy to provide support. The need a reset of their systems, I think, to allow a woman of greatness to come through.

  5. But isn’t Ardern a major obstacle to a post neo-liberal settlement, Liz? The sugar of words is brill, but then the flour of actions. Isn’t she like all the Labour Govts in all the world over all time, they don’t have the courage of their convictions, or worse, the convictions in the first place? Why I voted against her and Robertson and for Andrew Little in the Labour leadership elections. And why I’ve never voted Labour.

  6. Innnterrrresting sumsuch, you get to vote in the leadership election but have never voted for the party???

    • I laughed long and hard GAP as I did it, motivated by David Cunliffe, despite his dodgyness. Glad I put Little over the top, despite Ardern’s recent victory. She’s just proving me right. I despise Labour.

  7. Have you got to the end of 2019 already?! …most of us are just starting it… not sure whether to pity or envy you – guess I’ll have decided by the end of the year

  8. NZers vote for their mortgages, always have, always will. And when that fails they are just as willing to vote to over-turn society. That liberality (cf America) is no use when a longer timeframe comes into it — a slighter ramp and a more severe fall-off. Well, it makes me laugh, describing our demise.

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