Sunday 19 November 2017
One of the most heartening observations from watching the various gathering of politicians was seeing political opposites openly embracing after the Yes side was announced the winner of the Marriage Equality survey.
People in other circumstances who would openly display an avowed hatred of their opponents were sharing the love. I looked on seriously wondering why it were not possible to show even a morsel of appreciation for one’s opponents.
I suppose what is even more alarming is the hatred Australians seem to have developed for our politicians.
We are more angry and dissatisfied with politicians than ever before. You might say it has always been thus and it’s just part of the Australian make-up to make them a source of ridicule.
But it is also true to say that Australians have not only lost confidence it its politicians, but also in the political system generally. A new level of cynicism can be readily observed in angry calls to talkback radio and caustic letters to the editor, as well as empirically in surveys, opinion polls and at the ballot box (where voting behaviour is increasingly volatile).
While public opinion is never unanimous, the breadth and depth of this new discontent is quite remarkable – it cuts right across the socioeconomic spectrum.
John Howard had his haters, mainly because of his decision to back George W Bush in an illegal war. Spurred on by a hateful media, Julia Gillard was loathed by many because of a perceived lie. When people hate politicians, they do so with malevolent intent.
Often hate is attractive to unthinking, ill-informed minds. It is born of trepidation. A fear of not understanding. This can be witnessed in the audiences that people like Bolt, Jones, Hadley and others attract. Or when the Murdoch press display their detestation, in all its putrid ugliness, on the front pages of their tabloids.
Hate reveals itself in politics, sport, self, jealousy, race, religion, culture and relationship. Hate is simply an outward manifestation of our inner struggles with our faults and flaws.
Hate also expresses itself in leadership. The way leaders conduct themselves is reflected in the decisions they make. On a grand scale leaders like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot displayed hate in all its viciousness.
We all have the capacity for it. A sportsperson out of the blue utters a racial slur, born of hate that is completely out of character. They cannot explain why but usually their hatred is born of ignorance, something they dread, or is foreign to them.
It seems to me that hatred is fear without courage aligned with an inability to forgive. An incapacity to manage past hurts, losses and taught or acquired prejudices.
Fear goes immediately to blame and from blame a desire for vindication or revenge that manifests itself in hatred.
To demonstrate the modern political hatred we only need go back to the time of Abbott. Once in power the Abbott Government portrayed a sense of loathing. Tony Abbott and his government showed a hatred for all things Labor that surpassed the usual transitional norm. At the launch of the Paul Kelly book Triumph and Demise in which he expressed the view that our democracy was in trouble Tony Abbott said there was nothing wrong with it.
“It’s only the people who inhabit it from time to time.”
A clear example of his revulsion of all things Labor.
Another, was his comment on Labor’s environment policy:
“It is socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”
In Opposition Tony Abbott made it abundantly clear that he was there to oppose everything and that’s exactly what he did. He opposed everything with combative belligerence, often using sexism as a means of degrading his opponent. He created a shock and awe mentality of a government out of control. His loathing of a female Prime Minister transferred into misogyny. The media said he was the most successful Opposition Leader the country had ever had. A strange measure of success when based on hate.
His Prime Ministership began with a determination to impose his born to rule Neo conservative ideology on the electorate with two Royal Commissions. An unprecedented decision to release cabinet documents as evidence showed just how far he was prepared to allow his hatred to go.
The first was into the management of the ‘Pink Batts Scheme’. It reached conclusions no different that the previous 8 inquiries. His reputation for hatred grew matched by a fanatical vindictiveness. He instigated another Royal Commission into Unions. John Howard saw through Abbott’s spite, saying they were a bad idea.
Then an orchestrated campaign of hatred in tandem with Murdoch was launched against the ABC.
Their hatred for asylum seekers is well-known. They have been demonising them for many years. They are detained on Nauru without any chance of being resettled in Australia. What is their crime? Well, nothing, they are just victims of hatred.
They hate people who worry about Climate Change and want to do something about it labelling them as alarmists, dismissing science as superfluous to the debate.
Yes, they hate science if it transgresses the corporation’s capitalistic agenda. The right to profit from pollution no matter the harm it does.
And they hate trade unions and resent the working people who choose to join them. They hate that young people are objecting to deregulated university fees.
Pensioners are not spared their vengeance either with a deliberate attempt to lower their living standards. If ever one wanted evidence of this government’s hatred of the poor and middle classes one only has to look at the 2014 budget.
Ross Gittens put it this way:
The first and biggest reason the government is having to modify or abandon so many of its measures is the budget’s blatant unfairness. In 40 years of budget-watching I’ve seen plenty of unfair budgets, but never one as bad as this.
To hate with conviction requires a capacity to lie with unabashed certitude. To legitimise it to the point that people think they are no longer communicating in English.
At a press conference on 1 December 2014, Abbott was still insisting that all families were $550 better off on their power bills since the removal of the carbon tax. An unmitigated, deliberate lie.
Nobody lied with greater sincerity than Abbott. As a professed Christian he should know that nothing good was ever built on a foundation of hate.
The Prime Minister and his government has shown an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond any thoughtful examination. They have hate on their lips and their hate starts with the beginning of a smile.
Those on the left of politics, the progressive social democratic engineers of society, are concerned with people who cannot help themselves. The right, the conservative privileged elitists, are concerned with those who can.
My thought for the day
“The rise of narcissism and inequality and the demise of compassion illustrate the state of the world.”