Leaving The Hunter – who hates long flights – at home to do all the kinds of things that hunters do, I recently hopped the pond to enjoy a spot of grandmothering. There are many benefits to doing this, not the least of which is a huge arrears to be made up in the hugs and kisses department. Another benefit, but way down on the list, is that I thought I could leave the political climate behind, at least for a while.
While I was right about the first, and am immensely enjoying my three shadows, in the second I was not so fortunate. Everyone here wants to talk about the election. In the various shops along the High Street, I am asked to explain what is really going on. I have to admit that I can’t clear up anyone’s confusion because I am just as bewildered as they are.
Then they ask whom I want to see elected. At least I can answer this one. “No one,” I say. “I don’t want to see anyone elected. At the same time I want that kindergartener out of the oval office.”
I explain that in my opinion we do much better when a snowstorm or a budget spat shuts down the government, and how brilliant it would be to have a nice long bit of shut eye. For everyone to leave us alone to recover some equilibrium in peace. Without making everything so much harder by introducing yet more toxic germs or a devastating refusal to listen.
It is all a bit like 18th century medicine, really. The medical community then had no idea about elementary hygiene. Many thought it was extremely silly. Certainly unnecessary. In addition, bloodletting was the most common medical procedure. It was an accepted fact that bleeding a seriously ill person was the best way to cure them. For some reason no one was discouraged by the number of dead bodies.
From a 21st century perspective, it’s both quaint and horrifying. In the 18th century, they didn’t know what they didn’t know. Calling a doctor in the 18th century meant the end was near, but generally the patient was too weak to protest. You survived if you had a strong constitution – one that could stand a certain amount of abuse and still recover.
With the medical knowledge at the time, the best thing a doctor could do was nothing. Be there and be reassuring. But doctors wanted their patients to feel that they were in good hands – even unwashed ones (and to earn their fee, of course), so they resorted to unsound, unproven and downright dangerous practices, all the while ignoring the simplest, easiest thing ever – cleaning themselves up.
Rather like the modern political crew I think. I suspect we are already too weak to protest. I suspect that when we get this weak, we can’t think logically. The best thing our current crop of bloodletters could do would be nothing. After which some reading and listening would be in order. Instead it looks like they are busy spreading toxic germs and bleeding all of us to death. The thing is, how strong is our constitution? Will we survive?