A large sign suddenly appeared on the swimming bath fence. It feels like a message from aliens. What does it mean? Who is it for? The average user of the pool? What does one take from it?
Every farm gate now sports a sign: Multiple hazard area. What should one do about it? Every child going to school, every jogger, truck driver, builder, milk vendor, junk mail deliverer, wears a high viz jerkin, as if we have become visually impaired.
Local MP, Damien O’Connor gave up his electorate office in Albert Mall because the building had too low an earthquake rating. It was a good location in the centre of town opposite the library, an open glass frontage good for poster display, a space easy to pop into and have a chat. The new office on the outskirts of the CBD has a high counter with a latched entrance to stop loonies barging their way in and assaulting the secretary. Of course a woman working alone in a more isolate location is vulnerable and since the Ashburton rampage public servants are perceived as an at risk group of workers. But the office is no longer a social and political hub.
Since 9/11 a greater level of alienation is apparent. We are generally on high alert. The supposed dangers, like a virus, have entered the body of society, latching onto healthy cells. How far do we go along with this? Do we have any choice? And the dangers compound: trucks and cars become terrorist weapons. At the same time, statistically, it is nonsense. Far more people are killed by falling out of bed or mowing the lawns, than by terrorist attacks.
Taking advantage of this climate of fear and anxiety President Trump is definitely a danger to the health and safety of a multitude of people and those resisting him are faced with some real safety choices: to go underground or wear a high viz jacket and trust the system? The latter choice is problematic as the media, previously a safeguard, seemingly becomes irrelevant. Neither tactic will produce safety, but choosing resistance is the only healthy choice.
And what would the underground be organizing? What is the modern sabotage? The General Strike was once able to bring down governments, but nowadays it feels a remote possibility. Instead, some are trying to define the concept of the Social Strike: students, mothers, shoppers, sports players, entertainers, television watchers, radio listeners, volunteers, going on strike and picketing; joined by those workers who are willing… it is an interesting idea and could well prove very powerful.