I am British born and bred. I am male. I have a belief. I respect democracy. I am law-abiding. I am heterosexual. I am a pensioner. I have underlying health issues. I value all lives. I am white. I no longer matter
I was brought up by working class parents who taught me to respect all people regardless of their gender, creed, ethnicity, orientation or political opinions. They both served in WW2 to give me, and you, our freedom. I have always practiced what I was taught, and continue to do so. I passed that teaching to my children, which they have followed and will pass to theirs. But I no longer matter. Neither do they.
I have spent the last three months in lockdown. I was asked to do that by a government that was elected democratically by the people, including those who now matter and the rest of us who no longer matter. The politics of the incumbents are of no consequence, I would have done it anyway, because I value all lives, regardless of their gender, creed, ethnicity, orientation or political opinions. I am vulnerable, yes, but as a male only twice as much as the average. Others are more vulnerable than I, particularly those who now matter. But none of what I have done matters. Because those who now matter have decided they matter more than the government.
I spent every Thursday evening at 8pm for the last three months outside of my house clapping for the NHS. Their front line workers put their lives on the line for others they did not even know, regardless of their gender, creed, ethnicity, orientation or political opinions. It didn’t matter to them who mattered, because all patients do. But nothing they have all done in the last three months now matters. Because those that now matter, matter more than they do.
I am a historian. I write about the past so that we may all learn from it to make a better future. I explain what happened in the past using evidence that remains in existence. All of that past now has to be torn down because the people who now matter don’t like it, along with evidence and memorials that help the likes of me to explain why their past matters. They believe that eradicating it will make them matter. But with no evidence of the past they will no longer know why they matter. Neither will we.
So what do you want of me? How can I make you matter more to me than you already do?
Carry a placard saying that you now matter, even though you always did? Will that make me matter?
March with you when you may be unknowingly infected with something that will kill me with my vulnerabilities. And kill you and your elderly relatives with your greater vulnerabilities. Will that make me matter?
Disrespect with you the exhausted front line workers by ignoring social distancing, undoing all their hard work over the past few months thus providing them the opportunity to do it all over again. Will that make me matter?
Tear down monuments with you, and spray graffiti on others that mark what my parents, and your parents and grandparents, did to give us all the freedom to have your opinion. Will that make me matter?
Attack police with you who are just doing a job they shouldn’t need to do, but have to because our safety matters to them, whether those putting themselves in that danger now matter or not. Will that make me matter?
You say your lives matter.
I have never disagreed with you.
So when will you show that my life matters as well?