We’re not far out of an election and it got me thinking about the current state we’re in. Politics, for me anyway, has always been about social justice. There doesn’t seem to be a point without it. Yes I’m an idealist, yes I have faith in systems and process (so much so I’ve committed myself to it in my working life), overall I think democracy is pretty cool.
But increasingly I’ve got this niggling feeling things are going awry.
I feel like we’ve all had one unpleasant Christmas lunch too many. I’m stuck in a corner watching them all fight – grandma, the toddler, uncle Steve on his disability pension – they’re all being ignored while the families argue over who bought more prawns.
Partly the politicians are to blame, but so are we as we become more and more insular in our thinking and less willing to empathise with those around us. And justice? What’s that. In the midst of all this petty fighting we’re also missing opportunities to innovate, to push boundaries and make ourselves proud.
I see it in the debate over gay marriage where we seem to be stuck in the 1960s; where personal views are accepted as viable impositions on the personal lives of others. It’s in the discussion over NDIS funding where shortsightedness and an eye on a new flat screen TV prevents common sense, decency and even a recognition that, for selfish reasons as well, an insurance policy is also a win for us too. But mostly I see it in the refugee debate which renders me time and time again gob-smacked at how we, as a nation, have got to this point.
I’m not going to argue the merits of these policy positions here – for me the correct way forward on each is a no-brainer in every possible way. The very fact that a case needs to be put forward; that we debate these endlessly, going around and around in circles or stop things because of a perceived mood change, frustrates the hell out of me. What about the bigger picture, the long term vision, real change for real good?
Australian politics at the moment is a niggle that is becoming annoying, it’s an absence of social justice and a headdesk on a daily basis. What would be really great is if we, and the politicians, quit the arguments about prawns, admitted how lucky we actually are and welcome everyone to the table to feast on our collective opportunity together.
Too much to ask?