“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen” – Vladimir Lenin. You could associate that quote with any number of weeks over the past year or so but I was particularly reminded of it over the past fortnight. The past week in global politics will take their place in the history books of the future. The flurry of notifications, no doubt watched by many with bated breath, lit up my phone screen as news about our modern state of affairs came to light for all to see.
I have drank an unhealthy amount of coffee lately, not for the purposes of study, but to keep my eyes open for another ‘Key Race Alert’ to appear on my screen. The phrase was first associated with excitement in my eyes, so I could see exactly where the presidential race was in certain states. However, by the end of the week it became similar to Gollum searching for the ring in Lord of the Rings; something I felt I needed to know, convinced that networks would call the last few remaining states. Finally, on Saturday afternoon the news broke; Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were now President-Elect and Vice-President Elect, respectively.
Domestic politics took a turn here at home too, where the Tánaiste was questioned by a number of parties over posting a draft copy of a GP contract agreed with the Irish Medical Organisation in 2018 to the National Association of General Practitioners. After making a statement in the Dáil on Tuesday it led to questions and some fiery exchanges in the Dáil chamber. The issue is set to rumble on into this week as Sinn Féin is set to lodge a no-confidence motion against the Tánaiste. These two weeks of politics on both a national and global scale will be remembered for some time.
Incessant notifications on my phone have become the norm now. Whether it is news, emails, deadline reminders, or any number of other notifications that I need to know. What the first lockdown and Lockdown 2.0, as we have taken to calling it, have brought to my attention is peoples’ right to ‘unplug’. While I don’t advocate the right to unplug from the news or what’s going on in the wider world – I believe it is our responsibility as citizens of the world to inform ourselves of what is happening in current affairs – I do believe in the right to unplug from work. The attic in my house has now turned into my office, a place I spend 8-10 hours of my day. The walls now seem smaller than they did at the beginning of my work from home experience. Now more than ever we have to appreciate that the home and work environments have infused into one; this should change the way we look at ‘unplugging’ from the workplace and making the separation between the two environments.
There is a fantastic issue waiting for you within these pages, Andrea Horgan writes about Aphasia in our Features section; Liam examines the FAI’s Elite Player Pathway proposal; and Rían talks about the necessity of social media in modern social movements. Enjoy a fantastic paper created by some of UCC’s superb student journalists.
Until next time,