Left or right, not right or wrong. This is the world in 2017

By Barry Lord   @bazneto

Welcome to the world in 2017.  In this place of intense social and political division, the lines in the sand are increasingly prominent.

You must pick a side of the fence to stand on. No matter the issue (water charges, pro-life/pro-choice, climate change) you have to find your echo chamber, either online or in your community.

But your choice of what side to take will not be viewed as a matter of your own conscience or even simple decency. It will be fuelled by your political standpoint. At least by the outsiders looking in.

Are you left or right? That is the question.

This is the new way of the world. Somehow we have politicised morals. I don’t know when it happened (maybe it’s always been this way) but I definitely missed the meeting.

If you’re in any doubt, the proof can be found in the coverage of serial sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein. The endless stream of allegations from women who fell prey to his repulsive advances should be enough to make us condemn the man out of hand, without condition.

But what has happened? In some media circles, while admonishing the fallen film producer, the temptation to crow about the fact that he is a ‘leftie’ and prominent supporter of the Democratic Party is just too strong.

Some right wing outlets felt positively vindicated by the fact such a seemingly ‘progressive’ figure had been unmasked in this fashion and were now emboldened enough to tell those left-wing whingers who moaned about Donald Trump’s boasts about grabbing female genitalia to get back in their boxes.

Witness too, the controversy surrounding actor Kevin Spacey and the allegations made against him by another actor, Anthony Rapp. Rapp claimed that Spacey sexually harassed him 26 years ago at a party when Rapp was a 14-year-old minor.

Spacey claimed time and inebriation clouded his memory of the incident. The media – and the LGBT community, deeply offended by Spacey’s decision to come out as a gay man in light of the allegation – has not let the House of Cards star off the hook. Nor should they have. Again, we are unified in our condemnation.

The latest allegations aimed at Spacey come from son of actor Richard Drayfuss, who has accused the actor of sexual misconduct, alleging the House of Cards star molested him while his father was in the same room.

Harry Dreyfuss, who was 18 at the time made the claims on Buzzfeed.  He wrote that Spacey was a “sexual predator”, who felt “safe” to abuse him, knowing that he “wouldn’t say a word”.

The actor has been dropped by House of Cards producers Netflix and is currently under investigation by London police.

Dreyfuss alleged the incident took place in London in 2008 while his father was rehearsing for the play Complicit,  directed by Spacey, who was then artistic director of the Old Vic theatre.

And again, Spacey was another leftie target to hit. Outspoken, flamboyant right wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos duly took aim in an interview on Fox News, where he delighted in the left ‘eating one of their own’.

It would be easy to bite back at the likes of Yiannopoulos and his ilk. The former Breitbart news editor revels in his own perceived ‘cartoon villainy’ and provocateur status – witness his views on feminism and Islam.

But he is only a reflection of the times we now live in and we cannot trace the tribal nature of discourse to the doorstep of one individual.

It is something that has been nurtured and tolerated over time, in a variety of sources. In this world, your conscience is no longer your guide, as per Jiminy Cricket.

It is your political allegiance that informs the stance you take on issues that should be universal, beyond the chalk lines of the political arena.

It may be seen as a trend, but it’s an alarming trend and one that will see the left and right continually pitted against each other.

This is 2017. The world of left or right, not right or wrong.  Where do you stand on this one?

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