Governments and the People

I feel like being a little political today…

I’m cruising around FaceBook, reading various stuff posted by friends, and I happened across this photo by The Barricades.  I don’t follow them, and have no idea who they are or what they’re about, but a friend shared their photo…

Tony Abbot takes AusAid

Note: I haven’t researched this claim to find out if it’s true or not, because the claim itself isn’t my point.

I opened the photo itself and started reading a few of the comments.  People were frustrated and pissed off that our government could do something like this.  They ranted and raved and went all indignant and self-righteous.

And then I read a comment that stated that aid is a dictators best friend.  Which is true.  Again – this is a subject with which I haven’t done a lot of research, but I do know that some people smarter than I am believe that we should not have aid – that aid goes to the dictators themselves and that then they have no reason to try and better the economy for their people.  That aid keeps countries in poverty.  So maybe our Prime Minister isn’t just being a jerk – maybe there is a good reason for his actions here.  Again though, this isn’t my point per se.

So, I’m reading these comments, and I remember another FaceBook thread I read earlier where a friend is upset about a payment lost for good (the SchoolKids Bonus), and where I commented that we will also miss that payment when school goes back and we have a child starting prep and needing uniforms etc.  One of her friends commented that she was not “well off” even though they earn more than $150k per year.  Another said she was glad to see the payment go as she didn’t see why some kids should get it and others not (I assume her family also earns too much and therefore is not entitled).

It became glaringly obvious that these people have no idea what hardship is.  They have no idea what it’s like to go without food so that your children can eat.

And why should they?  We live in the lucky country right?  Where all health care is free, and welfare is generous.

Except neither of those statements are true.

Most people however, stated things along the lines that they didn’t vote for this, or they didn’t vote for this government, or they wouldn’t be voting for this government again…  They were indignant and self-righteous.

Politics.  These are both federal cases, however I have a state example as well.  Last night I commented on a thread about state politics, where people were all indignant and self-righteous too.

(By the way, in case said friend reads this – I am not talking about you sweetie 🙂  You are the bomb and totally cool lol).

The thing is…

We voted them in.  As a country, and as a state, we voted them in.  The federal Liberal Party received 53.45% of the vote (two-party preferred).  Which is a clear victory.  Australia spoke.  Queensland’s election was less “clear” with only 49.65% of the vote going to the LNP, however they certainly won a lot of seats!  Again, a clear victory.  People as a whole wanted them in more than any other party, even if less people wanted them in over those who did NOT.

What annoys me, and why I am writing this post is this – people don’t get that their political responsibility doesn’t start and end with voting.

For starters, we all have a responsibility to vote from an informed position.  This is becoming more difficult now with media ownership being what it is, but still – the information is out there for those who can and should access it.  I understand why my grandmother relies on Nine News, but I don’t understand why people on FaceBook half the day can’t follow a few people on Twitter and get some real insight as to what else is going on around them.  Certainly, at the very least, we can all talk to people outside of our normal demographic circles.  We can be more educated than we are.

Secondly, we all have a responsibility to formally speak up.  If your local member is for something you are against, write a letter or send an email.  Let them know how you feel.  Do the same if they are doing something you like – let them know!  How else are they going to know what their constituency is thinking and feeling?

Thirdly, we all have a responsibility to speak up less formally.  It is often said that dinner parties should steer clear of discussions of politics and religion.  I think that dinner parties are exactly when we should be speaking about politics and religion.  We should be having the hard debates.  No need to be an arse about it, but if someone says something that you disagree with, let them know, and let them know why.  You may just change their mind, or at least, you may open it a little more.

Finally, I think we all need to stop solely think about how politics affects us personally.  Sure, at the end of the day, you are going to vote for the party that will make all your dreams come true, and that is fine.  That is how it is supposed to be.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a few minutes to help someone else’s dreams come true as well.  So even if an issue such as gay rights for example, is not your thing, that doesn’t give you the right to not give a shit about how the law’s affect your neighbour.  I’m not suggesting you fight all the fights – none of us have the time for that – but if someone says something foolish in front of you, don’t ignore it.  Pick them up on it and educate them.  Educate yourself, so that you know what you are talking about.

You don’t get to piss all over politics just because you didn’t vote for them.  The majority of your family, friends, and community DID vote for them.  It is your job to be a part of the community, have the hard discussions and change some minds.  Or at least try to.  It is the price we pay for living in a (supposedly democratic) Constitutional Monarchy.

There.  Now I am all indignant and self-righteous lmao 🙂

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Disability consumer and activist. Pissed off since 1995... Mad as a hatter since way before that.

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5 comments on “Governments and the People
  1. Polly says:

    What a well thought out post, I like it!! I will 100% try and to be more pro active and go follow some twitter feeds, thank you

  2. Candid and well considered thought. I hope it gets read, you’ve clearly put some work into it. Once you’ve researched the few points you mentioned about aid, I’d be interested to hear what you think about it. A follow up would be good. This deserves one.

    • Thanks 🙂 There has been some more stuff going on in the aid area of late, but I haven’t been able to keep up – we’ve had major internet issues, and some major family stuff going on… but I’ll try and get into it later on. It is amazing what is being done (or not done as the case may be) to our fellow humans in our name, and without anyone seemingly giving one iota of a shit, regardless of where they stand on the issue.

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Pissed off since 1995. Mad as a hatter since way before that.

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