Who shall judge us? This thought occurs to me as I reflect on my previous post about the two old men, who at a great hospital covering the area of a large village, could only find a place to light a cigarette outside the main entrance beside the litter bins, as traffic drove continuously by and the sun beat down. Fortunately though, it was not winter. That would have been worse for the two in wheelchairs.
Indeed, whoever did not decide to sweep them away as if they were like the ‘trash’ in the litter bins, may, in that context, have been acting mercifully towards these old men. And who knows what sorrows those patients have been nursing with their furtive cigarettes. God help us all.
The people who judge those old men and banish them from a few human comforts that could be easily engineered, are human beings, as those old men are. But they act as if they are God. From their moralistic high ground they regard those elderly patients as not worthy of the most basic compassion, when their needs could be provided for, with a minimum of expense and effort. Two, frail old men, near the ends of their lives by all appearances, who maybe paid for and fought for the freedoms which their judges deny them: those higher beings who disdain them for what they see as their human frailties: what secular pietists regards as sins.
But the Pharisees of the cult of health zealotry will die too. Or do they think that they are exempt – provided that others, like those old men, ‘lesser beings’, whom they condemn, carry away the sins of the ‘Great and the Good’, out into the wilderness.
Tonight, as I sat in my garden I saw two pigeons, companionably about a foot apart, perfectly still, on a garage roof. They were there for a long while.
My thoughts turned to our pubs of yesteryear. There was something in the relaxed calm of the scene in my garden. And I thought of two old people, in the ‘snug’ of one of our pub bars, in former times: sitting, comfortably – no need to chat, and watching the world come and go.
No more, since the smoking ban, with no exemptions or provision for separate areas, imposed on July 1, 2007.
Elderly people: those who kept this country going, who paid their taxes, maybe fought or grew up in the second world war. They must conform. ‘Ihr musst.’ Or sit at home alone. And eventually die. And they have no voice.
This is not their England. But I believe it is still there, buried by a merciless cult of social control. May it be restored.