“A garment like device with long sleeves that can be secured to restrain a violently disturbed person.”(1)
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a straitjacket is basically a jacket with overlong sleeves and is usually used to restrain a person(s) who may otherwise cause harm to themselves or others. Once the arms are inserted into the straitjacket’s sleeves they are then crossed across the chest. The ends of the sleeves are then tied to the back of the wearer, ensuring that the arms are kept close to the chest with as little movement as possible.
Prior to the evolution of modern psychotherapy and pharmaceutical treatments, of which, we are now situated. There had been an overall negative connotation to the use of the straitjackets as an instrument of torture. This originated from the early Victorian era of medicine at which time physical restraint was used extensively both as treatment for mental illness and as a means of restraint (2).
All of us, at one point in time have felt as though we are wearing that straitjacket: personal situations, at work, at home, whatever the reason—we all have experienced that feeling. It is as if we were tied up, we cannot move and we even perhaps feel on the verge of losing our minds.
As far as politicians are concerned, I have seen them come and go. They start with the best of intentions but then the straitjackets of bureaucratic rigidity, policy legacies, and just plain old bad blood between fellow political inmates quickly crushes aspirations of making change.
But there is another political straitjacket that is seldom mentioned and almost completely ignored by those in the media, politicians, and the public at large. Those are the oligopolies and monopolies of special interest groups that lobby, shape, and just outright try to game the political system to their own benefit—this goes on 365 days a year. They are from all sectors, representing every kind of group imaginable. John Ralston Saul spoke of themas ‘Voltaire’s Bastards’ where he argues:
“…that the rationalist political and social experiments of the Enlightenment have degenerated into societies dominated by technology and a crude code of managerial efficiency. These are societies enslaved by manufactured fashions and artificial heroes, divorced from natural human instinct”. (3)
Fancy talk…but there is truth in what is being said. Often it seems our City is not being run by our Council but instead is being maneuvered to action by those who would seek to profit from it. In the coming months, you will see first-hand some of these oligopolies and monopolies being exposed.
It will be up to City Council to challenge these interests and seek to establish what truly matters – the public interest.
Some will take offense to my blog today, but I would argue this is more than a matter of conscience.
This stand is one of democratic defense.
- Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012ans of pacifying patients in understaffed asylums.