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To be depressed and upset about our cruel society, but know that there is bugger all I can do.

(130 Posts)
ultrathule Fri 24-Jul-15 09:33:55

Recently I've been getting quite upset by the news, and especially by comment threads and chat boards where individuals express their opinions. It seems that there is so much hate, casual cruelty and lack of understanding of others misfortune around. I know intellectually that this is what life is like, and it isn't really worth getting upset about, but I can't help it. I am finding it all so overwhelming. I want to stop reading the paper, or looking at facebook, or opening certain threads, but at the same time I can't quite help myself.

I read about spikes put on ground to stop homeless people from sleeping under a bit of shelter. Then I read a comment thread where unfortunate destitute people are called scum. I read about people who lose their homes, who despite working all hours they can, still can't make ends meet, at the mercy of landlords who can evict at will. I read comment threads that call them benefit scroungers, and blame them for having children.
I read about people who will never have the lifestyle their parents enjoyed, despite doing everything "right" - going to university, studying, working hard, finding a vocation. The things that were normal to their parents (owning a home, not being in debt, having a pension), are out of their reach. Yet when they complain, they are called "entitled".
I read about people fleeing awful persecution, left to drown at sea. Or suffocating in the back of lorries. Or thrown into internment camps. Who are then blamed for trying to better their lives.
I hear about people who are exploited, then condemned for their own exploitation.

And the fact of these things is bad enough, but the attitude of so many people which seems to be "to hell with everyone else", is what upsets me the most. A old work colleague of mine, after losing her partner and being unable to continue in her job, suffering from mental illness, was left destitute by benefit sanctions (caused by letters being stolen from the dreadful hostel she'd been placed in after being evicted from her home). She's a normal person who has been destroyed by our so called "society", and now has been left on the scrap heap. I wrote about her, and the comments in response were to the effect: it is her own fault, why should we care?

What have we become?

NowSissyThatWalk Fri 24-Jul-15 09:40:53

I think with the post-recession era, people got scared and want people to blame, so they scapegoat as many demographics as they can.
And sadly, I feel the more that this goes on, the more desensitized we will become to these kind of views.
I only hope that this sort of thing comes in waves and in a decade or so it will have 'swung back' the other way and things will have mellowed.

CuttedUpPear Fri 24-Jul-15 09:41:39

It's shit, I agree, you're right.

Try not to get down though. Try to DO something. Volunteer, join a charity fundraiser. My friend makes a huge pile of sandwiches every Thursday and walks round his city centre giving them to those who need them. Myself and DD have joined him and taken on the round for him when he's been away. We live rurally so can't help with this more often but I've registered with NightStop who place homeless uoungsters in overnight accommodation with ordinary families.

Don't get mad, get even! Join the Labour party so you can vote for Jeremy Corbyn.
Go on a march against austerity measures.

And be grateful that these benefit bashers aren't your friends in real life.

ultrathule Fri 24-Jul-15 09:47:18

I was thinking of joining Labour, just to vote for Corbyn. If he didn't get in, I'd have to cancel my membership pretty quick!!!

My husband I do do a bit of volunteering; he's not remotely political but much more practical than I am. My problem with volunteering is in a way I see it as almost colluding with the problem, which needs to be solved at a more structural level. But then I go back to feeling even more impotent and depressed. Husband says "just don't read that stuff", but i feel myself being drawn back to it all the time. Then I get upset. I know IABU!

UrbaneLandlord Fri 24-Jul-15 09:48:00

The United Kingdom has one of the most generous & comprehensive welfare systems in the world; and still will have after all of the Conservative welfare reforms have been implemented.

If it's so bad in this country, how on earth do the very great majority of other countries get on?

ultrathule Fri 24-Jul-15 09:58:57

Look at many other countries in Europe, Scandinavia yes, but also countries like Belgium, the Netherlands - the standard of living is generally higher, and levels of inequality smaller. Every day life is easier for everyone as there is an incentive for public services to work on behalf of the population at large.
I'm not talking necessarily about welfare alone (although how a country treats is poorest citizens is a good measure of how well it's public services are run more generally). The fact that so many working people are unable to earn enough money to live - through WORKING alone - is a travesty. Our governments (red and blue) have enriched the wealthy through subsidising low pay, and normalising low living standards.

DoraGora Fri 24-Jul-15 10:02:58

Victim blaming is the best way of preventing yourself from identifying with them or feeling any responsibility for them. I'm all right, Jack. Fuck them.

NinkyNonkers Fri 24-Jul-15 10:04:28

YANBU. I can't elucidate more at the moment but will be back to join in later!

missmoon Fri 24-Jul-15 10:07:20

"The United Kingdom has one of the most generous & comprehensive welfare systems in the world; and still will have after all of the Conservative welfare reforms have been implemented."

This is simply not true for the UK among wealthy countries, see for example, Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Germany, France... Also, levels of wealth inequality in the UK are among the highest in Europe.

missmoon Fri 24-Jul-15 10:08:33

OP, YANBU, I completely agree and it gets me down too. I would like to do more but don't know where to start or how to find the time.

DoraGora Fri 24-Jul-15 10:14:32

London is a financial centre, though, so we create and attract wealth inequality and Osborne and Co. continuously argue that if we didn't protect this inequality, these clever financiers would move abroad and be wealthy somewhere else. So, it's better to have rich, selfish people in London than let them go to, say, New York.

victoryinthekitchen Fri 24-Jul-15 10:18:01

yanbu op and we can all make a small difference everyday, even from common courtesy to everyone when are about our daily business, to challenging people who make stupid comments about people and their circumstances.
It's a tough world out there however there are loads of great people making a difference all the time, they just don't make the news often.

FlumptyDumpty Fri 24-Jul-15 10:24:08

YANBU. I could have written your opening post. It is profoundly depressing. I despair at how our population has been brainwashed by vested political interests and a tame media into renouncing all empathy and compassion for those badly off; blaming them for their plight, and accepting a low wage economy that leaves people unable to afford to live while multi-billion corporations get welfare handouts. It's insane. Why we collectively are putting up with it is anybody's guess.

ppolly Fri 24-Jul-15 10:25:15

I think things actually tend to get better over a long period of time. if you take the historical view, think how far we have come as a society since the Middle Ages. There is a newspaper called 'positive news' which reports just that. You sound like a sensitive and caring person who might need a break from all the negative media. And no, we can't do much, but we can do something - donate a little time or money to something you feel strongly about or do some random kindnesses. people have been despairing about the deplorable state of society since written records began!

DoraGora Fri 24-Jul-15 10:29:38

Why we collectively are putting up with it is anybody's guess.

Because, under FPP, you only need to persuade a few people who aren't alright, Jack, that in a little while they will be. Of course, after the election you change your mind and take away their tax credits or retirement home protection. But, by then it's too late; they've voted for you.

Baddz Fri 24-Jul-15 10:29:51

Yanbu sad
I try and negate my negative feelings by volunteering and giving to charity.
It's not much but it's makes me feel like I am doing something.
Some people have no idea how quickly life can change.
In a heartbeat.
We are all fragile, and vulnerable and that is what the financial crisis proved.
People don't lie, having that pointed out to them.
So they find a scapegoat. It's all their fault.
Scary times.

iamEarthymama Fri 24-Jul-15 10:31:06

I share your despair, I have been active in campaigning for years and am devastated by the Tory party being given the power to destroy the Welfare State.
It is the work of decades, the me me me mentality has been firmly put in place.
I have had to stand back a little but intend to re engage politically and to do some volunteering.
There is hope, there are good people, we can effect change

penisland Fri 24-Jul-15 10:36:57

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

TrueFact Fri 24-Jul-15 10:39:41

YANBU. It's depressing. I've noticed 'the I'm alright Jack' mentality more and more recently, particularly on here. Some people just don't appear to have a conscience at all.
My 6 year old has more empathy and compassion than most adults I know.

DoraGora Fri 24-Jul-15 10:48:28

I'm assuming that some of the grotesquely selfish posts that we see on MN are tongue in cheek. But, I can't really see what else selfish people are supposed to think.

It's binary really, either you help out the less fortunate, or you don't. And, if you don't then what are you supposed to do? Your mindset tells you that they're not your problem. Fuck 'em is just a rather crass method of expressing it.

If you're a selfish Tory arsehole, it might just be better for everyone if you kept quiet. We all know what you think. It doesn't help to express it.

BuggerLumpsAnnoyed Fri 24-Jul-15 10:55:41

urbanelandlord we also have one of the worst rich/poor divides and more children living in poverty in the developed west.

YANBU OP. I share your despair. Someone shared some bullshit sensationalist article on Facebook about a 'scrounger' mum with 8 kids on benefit who dared to express her concern about losing money after the sanctions. This guy, who is vocal in his anti Tory stance, said this is one thing he agrees with as its not fair that people take no responsibility for themselves and expect us to pay for them. It's all very well saying that, but these 8 children are already here. Why should they have to live in poverty due to simply being born into a situation they had no control over. It over simplifies everything and continues the poverty cycle without addressing how to effectively help the fanmilies affected.

This government has succeeded in convincing society we need to blame the poor and vulnerable for getting us into a situation cause by the banks and corporations, while crippling them further to pay money to the very people that got us into this mess. It's disgusting.

londonrach Fri 24-Jul-15 11:00:14

Watching something like this and the wwyd series on youtube makes you realise its not as bad as you think. Understanding where you coming from.

TTWK Fri 24-Jul-15 11:10:00

This is simply not true for the UK among wealthy countries

But the UK isn't a wealthy country. It has some very wealthy people living in it, but that isn't the countries wealth. The UK is akin to a luxury hotel that's running at a huge loss. You walk in and it has a façade of wealth, but the finances are a car crash and it's on the verge of economic collapse.

Unless those in charge turn the situation around, in 20 yrs time we'll be looking back at austerity as we understand it today and wondering how we ever had it so good.

And the USA is an even bigger basket case.

National debt will eventually overwhelm us.

BuggerLumpsAnnoyed Fri 24-Jul-15 11:17:49

I think it's all very well to say we might look back on austerity fondly if you're not living in abject poverty because of it. It's a con and the government is taking money from the wrong places. For example, royal mail was actually doing well for the country when nationalised. It was sold for 1 billion pounds under its market value to someone who happened to be George osbournes best man at his wedding.

DoraGora Fri 24-Jul-15 11:20:47

The answer to deficit is growth, not austerity. Austerity is the financial equivalent of never going outside in case you get run over.

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