I use my soapbox to store soap. I avoid standing on it. That’s not to say I don’t have opinions, this blog is full of my opinions but you’ll note I don’t exactly prod controversial issues like religion, politics, current affairs or my preference for osteopaths over physiotherapists. Usually I see the elephant in the room and then run down to the beach to dig a hole the size of my head. This isn’t only because I fear confrontation, often it’s because I don’t know enough on the subject to pass comment.
This time, the ‘elephant’ is our up and coming federal election. On the 7th of September, Australia votes. Topical issue. Tick. Now, my disclaimer. While I don’t think I’m going to say anything particularly contentious, I don’t know much about politics. I hear the word ‘politics’ and then it’s all blah blah blah blah. The problem is, I do care about Australia’s future which forces me to pay closer attention which, in turn, reinforces my hatred of politics.
Politics is advertising. Particularly at this stage of the game, when they are more interested in keeping up appearances than running the country. It’s all spiels and promises and ‘my promise is better than your promise’. Historically our governments have broken many and it begs you to wonder why they persist in calling them that. It only serves to bolster my distrust and cynicism. Unfortunately, if I were to ignore policy and vote as if this were a popularity contest, I’d vote for Obama. You can see my problem.
Politics is whinging. Parliamentary question time on the news is portrayed as a schoolyard-esque slanging match. “You don’t know what you’re talking about”; “Your policy is rubbish”; “Your mother was a lizard”. How old are they? Why are they booing and shouting? What’s wrong with a calm and reasoned discussion? And just because they’re called the Opposition doesn’t mean they have to oppose everything on principle. It would be really nice if occassionally they shared an opinion and saw a common goal for Australia.
It’s complicated. If the ‘right thing to do’ was obvious we wouldn’t have spent the last sixty odd years ping-ponging between the two major parties. Answers are not easy. Even a statement like, ‘it is wrong to kill people’, initially yields a unanimous ‘yes’. Then someone asks about capital punishment. Another questions abortion and euthanasia. Another speaks about war and killing for freedom. And opinion becomes divided. It’s complicated. They can’t just want for environmental change and lower carbon emissions without compromising on coal and mining. They can’t just ‘stop the boats’, by processing asylum seekers without compassion because it is inhumane to do without it. They can’t promise a surplus and low interest rates when those figures are based upon projected revenue and a stock market they can’t control.
Don’t they realise we’re not voting for spin, spiels or whinging. We want assurances over promises, wisdom over power, righteousness over popularity, transparency over red tape and action over words. We vote because it is complicated. We employ them with the hope that they’ll make tough informed choices, that they’ll be for long-term good rather than for short-term gratification.
Step up. Bring that.
That’s what I want to vote for.