On change

In which I worry about racism

I think this piece by Scott Ludlam sums up one of my real fears about what this whole debacle in the Liberal Party really means for Australia. We only have to look at what happened to Julie Bishop to understand what they really think about women (they most definitely showed us the hollow logic they apply to ‘merit’ based promotion when they didn’t promote the person with the best polling figures and probably their best-performing minister). But I feel sick at the thought of what our country is going to look like when it comes to race over the coming years. It is extremely sobering to think how superficial our veneer of non-racism actually is, as has been revealed by the United States recently.

I’ve been spending a bit of time in the last year or so examining my own racism a bit more carefully. It isn’t good enough in the current climate to simply count oneself as one of the good guys. More and more I have been realising that my passivity and inaction are themselves a form of racism. I suppose that is something I always knew, but have not fully taken on board. Anyway, one of the things that I have been trying to do is to read a lot of the comment and commentary and to not get huffy and think, ‘Yeah, but …’ and then do a bit of a ‘not all white people’. There is a particular writer I read on twitter and instagram and she is very funny, but very, very dismissive of white people like me. And I’m trying to think, ‘Well, she’s got a point,’ because she does rather than, ‘Yeah, but.’ It’s surprising how quickly it has become easier to think that way and to feel a very real shift away from it being something I’ve forced myself to do towards something that comes much more naturally.

Also, I have a couple of emails and letters I need to finish writing. It’s the 1980s Amnesty member in me. I can’t stop believing that letter-writing is where it’s at even though I do know that in 2018 it’s all about twitter. But I went back to twitter last week and while I see its value in uniting people, I’m not one of those people and honestly after ten minutes I feel so mentally bruised that I am happy to return to my own quiet little place on the internet, open outlook and begin to tap out my email.

On Friday

In which I remain distracted, but am finally focused on the task at hand

I’ve spent way too much time this week distracted by the horrifying spectacle out of Canberra, culminating in the previously unthinkable relief that our prime minister is Scott Morrison. I’m not actually relieved about that because along with the deplorable human rights abuses committed by him, he abstained from voting for the marriage equality legislation despite his own electorate voting in fovour of it. Still, I guess overall it’s situation unchanged for someone with my politics so the week has ended as it began only I’m a little more despairing about the state of politics generally. I fear that the ‘they’re all the same narrative’ is set like concrete in our psyche now and that cannot be good news for civil debate. Oh, and the planet is still on fire and the Australian government certainly won’t be rocking up with a hose to fight it.

Anyway and anyhoo, the mister did ring me only moments after the results of the vote were announced to say that our new puppy will be arriving on Wednesday so life does go on for now at least and I’m fairly certain the sun will rise tomorrow as they say.

As a result of my distraction this week, it’s now 8pm on Friday night and I am in front of my computer, a toasted sandwich for my dinner and a shitload of work to do. I’ve finally switched ABC News 24 off and am listening to Double J’s playlist of greatest women on their spotify playlist. It is ace. And to be fair, even working is better than sitting down in front of the television watching my team who promised so much so early in the season lose the final game of the season.

I did have a much more interesting post underway for today but then I ran out of time to polish it off, because I was too busy writing even more emails to politicians, so it’s this mish-mash of nothingness instead. Until tomorrow.

PS I’ve tagged this Friyay. It’s a word I learnt from instagram. I’m using it ironically just in case you were wondering. I’d never use it for real.

PPS As well as getting my blog back on track, I’ve started a tinyletter, you cant sign up for it over here over here

On leadership

In which I am utterly despondent about politics and turn to television

Utterly despondent about politics right now. Malcolm Turnbull has been an absolute disappointment. I mean I was never going to love the leader of the Liberal party, but his continual capitulation of anything he believed in–most particularly same sex marriage and climate change–was unedifying at best. The idea that we might have Peter Dutton has left me, quite literally, in tears. We are locking kids up in offshore detention, and our planet is on fire, and our solution is Peter Dutton.

But I hate, just hate this constant trashing of our democracy by the guardians of our democracy. I think I should write about something different because honestly I am finding this really upsetting and stupidly I engaged on twitter which is something I never usually do because it’s entirely toxic…I should just stay on the instas…

so, quick, what else can I write about? I can’t think of anything much and the only reason I’m writing at all is because it’s only day three of my renewed commitment to my blog.

I know! Over the weekend I watched the loveliest series on netflix–The Dectectorists. I’m a bit sad the last series isn’t there, but I highly recommend. It has that perfect blend of comedy (well, more humour really than comedy) blended with characters who walk on the edge of loneliness because humans and their friendships are always fragile but never quite fall in because friendships win. Writing that sentence has cheered me up a bit and if you need cheering up go and watch The Dectectorists.

On the Malcolms

Okay, look, I’ve got a bit too much time on my hands at the moment, but here’s the thing about the Prime Ministers, Malcolm.

Them, I do not trust.

It seems to me that we are all being seduced by Malcolm the Turnbull’s charms for reasons including, and pretty much limited to, the fact that he is not Tony Abbott.

Let me be clear: Tony Abbott is an odious man. Okay, I’ve never met him, I don’t know him personally. As a general principle-to-live-by I try to be generous of spirit and of kind and I try not to judge people and certainly not harshly. Maybe I should rephrase my clarity: Tony Abbott’s politics are odious to me. And I’m pretty sure that if I met him, he would be odious to me. The sense of elation I felt the night that he was defeated cannot be understated.

Let me be clear: Malcolm the Turnbull is a most attractive man. Handsome, elegant, smart and fun. He shows love and respect for his partner. His smile? Oh, my lord. Let us all be seduced by his charm. Where’s the harm? But let me be clear on this as well: Malcolm Turnbull’s politics are odious to me.

I have to remind myself to separate those things. The charming man. His odious politics. A vote for one is a vote for the other too.

I think perhaps there is something in the name. Malcolm. It’s an almost awkward name, the two syllables separated as they are by that click that’s not quite in your throat. Awkward, but perhaps it carries some enchantment, a bewitching. Casting a spell of which we are aware but happy to give in to.

I know I am increasingly alone in this, but Malcolm the Fraser I have not forgiven. I know that we all admire his recent (and not-so-recent, in fact, his altogether consistent) adherence to the principles of human rights. He talked the talk, but he walked the walk as well.

But here’s the thing: adherence to the principles of human rights is baseline. It’s the cake, it’s not the icing. It’s what our leaders should be doing. I mean good on him for standing firm and speaking out. But so he should have. He was just doing the right thing.

For me, what looms larger, his actual legacy, is the dismissal of Gough Whitlam. And this is not just some romantic nostalgia for Gough, though I’ll admit to some of that. I think we have to take seriously the disrespect that Malcolm the Fraser showed for our democracy. Such little respect for our democratic process. Such little respect for us. I have no scientific proof of course, but how can that Born to Rule mentality not be with us still?

I’m not saying that we should be hating on a man who isn’t here to defend himself. I’m not saying we should throw eggs at his headstone. He did a bad thing, but I don’t think he’s evil. Or even odious. I’m just saying that in our gratitude to people for not being Tony Abbott we should not kid ourselves that they are something greater than they are.

The Prime Ministers, Malcolm.

Our rage, it must be maintained.