Today’s Prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.
I feel like this one’s a little heavy. I’m not very happy with it – I just wanted to get it posted. I began writing about a contrast between what politicians say and what the public want, but it ended up being a contrast between what voters believe and the truth. It is, after all, shameful that people are so ignorant when they make their decisions. I’ve based it on politics within the UK, although I haven’t used a specific politician or political party.
A light blazed from the television set, bathing the viewer in a flickering combination of colours. Daniel sat sluggishly on the sofa, a can of beer in his hand and half a dozen more empty cans at his feet. The man on the television, a politician, spoke proudly to whoever wanted to hear what he had to say.
‘Our health care system is in major distress. It’s a major factor in our campaign.’ He sounded defiant, a muscle twitching near his mouth. ‘Our policies will ensure that vulnerable people get the treatment they deserve.’
‘They didn’t get it the last time you promised it,’ Daniel grunted at the television. He thought of his grandfather, a man who had been frail in his last few years, who had been mistreated in his care home.
‘We’re also promising to create new jobs, especially for young people,’ the politician added. Daniel thought of his niece, who had spent the whole year since she had left school handing her CV to everyone she came into contact with. She was still looking.
‘I bet you’ll do that,’ Daniel scoffed into his can.
‘And we have a plan to build a hundred thousand new homes if we’re elected.’
‘Well, that’s just great.’ Daniel spat into his can as he spoke, eyeing the liquid gingerly before deciding to finish it off. He placed the empty can on the floor and pointed at the television, the image of the politician now blurry. ‘Why don’t you tax the rich more, eh? Why don’t you raise the minimum wage, too? There are starving families out here! Why don’t you listen to what people want?’
‘And of course, most importantly, we’ll be implementing procedures to ensure that the number of immigrants who come to our country every year is reduced and controlled.’
Daniel threw his arms up into the air, hanging off the edge of the sofa as he listened, suddenly interested.
‘We’ll be ensuring British jobs for British workers.’
‘Yes!’ Daniel thought about his Polish neighbours. The husband worked nights and the wife worked four hours a day, as well as juggling two young children. He thought about them, and then he thought about a British person taking over the jobs they had held for at least five years.
‘We’ll make sure that immigrants who are abusing our benefits system are stopped.’
‘Yes!’ Daniel thought about a newspaper article he had seen once about a family who had been claiming benefits for a child who had been living abroad. Then he thought about the Polish mother next door, and dismissed her. The newspaper article had to be right, and that was how people had to be judged.
‘We’ll create laws that prevent people from coming into our country to use our national health care system, which the British people pay taxes for!’
‘YES!’ Daniel jumped off the sofa, his fists clenched and still in the air. He thought about a Spanish woman he had once seen on a news channel who had entered the country when she had been ill and had been treated for free. He thought about that, and he decided that there had to be others who had schemed and planned to get their diseases treated with his tax money.
He deliberately did not think about his other neighbours, a British couple who had been on job seeker’s allowance ever since they had left school ten years ago, despite the fact that they had never paid tax in their lives. The fact that they were British meant they deserved free health care.
‘If, like me, you want to see our country and our culture remain British, then vote for us on election day.’
‘I will,’ Daniel confirmed, because he did not need any more information. He had made a judgement, and he did not need to think about the facts to back up his decision. He only needed those few examples that he was able to conjure up from the back of his mind, because he could judge the majority of people on that.