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Politics Driven Fear and the Pain it Brings

People are expressing the increasing need to separate themselves and self-identify as situated above certain groups. They feel the need to paint others as lesser. This need is fed by fear driven politics and it is causing a loss of focus and it is causing a lot of pain.

Memes used to be funny. They were quirky, sometimes delightful, sometimes thought provoking and sometimes so funny one would cry from laughing. Now memes are more about social status. Sharing to place oneself in a better class.  A class above Jobseekers, Unionist, Muslims, Indigenous and LGBTI people who just want to get married amongst other groups.

Not an hour goes by on social media when I do not scroll by some defamatory post about Muslims (mostly aimed at degrading Muslim women) or how jobseekers are bludgers and should just get a job. Then I scroll by more shares about how unionists are self-serving, dodgy criminals. Then I come across those who belong to the special group who believe they are more Australian than the Indigenous Australians who were here in the first place.

Every day we scroll through the privileged Olympics, but there are no winners. Only losers.

The privileged I am talking about here, are not the Turnbull type of privileged; but so many every day Australians who share derogatory memes about various groups on a daily basis. These people come from all walks of life. They are not necessarily rich and they may be poor.  Wealth status is not the issue here.

These people are privileged by default, because they do not belong to the group that they and others scorn, ridicule, shame, shun, ostracise and stigmatise. It is like every share elevates one to being a gold card member of the ‘in-group.’

The problem is that the privileged do not see. They are blinded. They cannot calm their egos enough to bring themselves down to another level to try to understand the life of another.  They do not attempt to listen and empathise; they are on autopilot with judgement and ridicule.

Social media has made it so it is so much more important to hold dear to the opinion originally developed, than to attempt to understand an issue enough or look at it through different eyes; to recognise it is causing harm and change that opinion.

If we are complaining we haven’t progressed since Whitlam, it is largely our fault. It is our fault that there are so many people in pain, because every day I see stereotypes and stigmatisation shared around to approve and contribute to the infliction of pain on others.

We pit the oppressed against the oppressed when a meme is shared to give the homeless more than refugees. How does one judge the value of what assistance should be given? What drives us to choose between a person who has seen their entire family raped, tortured, slaughtered and burnt and fled their homeland or give to a person in desperate need of shelter, food, clothing and care? Do they both not deserve love, kindness and generosity?

What fear is within us that makes us share such memes as representations of our thoughts that we play judge and jury and decide who is not worthy of care and assistance? Is kindness such an ugly emotion that we reject it? Is it a fear that others may judge you as being too kind?

No, it is the fear driven politics that has led us to believe that a Government and its citizens cannot be generous enough to help both. It is the fear that if they do, we would somehow be worse off. It is fear driven politics that sees us remain silent on the generous assistance to the wealthy banks and business, whilst we verbally bash the poor.

We glorify a free-market-worker-hating-Government every time we share a meme about the ‘pathetic’ unemployed and how they are bludging and living off our taxes. We kick the worker every time we contemplate how unfair it may be that some  greedy workers are getting paid penalty rates and how terrible this is for business and their profits. Pass me a goddamn tissue.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government is the epitome of the greedy bourgeoisie and there are every day citizens working so hard to work with them and for them to shove the worker and those who are jobless down as far as they can be kicked.

We have come to a peculiar space in time where the plebs themselves are standing with the bourgeoisie. For if they do this, then being a pleb, is better than a prole or the “hoi polloi.”  The common worker, consumed by politics driven fear is tearing their own class apart.

“Workers United will never be defeated….” Go on…say it….it means something real.

What is the fear that drives us to glorify a Government who insists that the unemployed (human beings in case you have forgotten) should starve for a six months, six weeks and now a month?

Is it a fear that we may lose something if jobseekers are offered assistance from the public purse?

Is it a fear that we may just not have one more submarine to build if a jobseeker can live on real meat instead of noodles?  Is it a genuine fear that Gina Rinehart might have less billions and that would somehow hurt us?

Is it the fear that we may confront the uncomfortable truth that our judgements reinforce the message that turning to sexual favours and even suicide is a reality for these individuals who are finding it so hard to survive in a world of  not just poverty, but scorn and condemnation?

Above all else, it is the politics driven fear that those living in poverty are stealing something from us. It is the fear that they are getting something for less effort than us. It is the fear reinforced by the LNP message that there will be fewer hospitals, fewer schools and fewer jobs if we treat the unemployed with dignity. It is the politics driven fear that assisting jobseekers will result in less jobs; because that means we could one day be them.

There is no point attempting to provide input of an opposing view.  Try to tell someone to be angry at the Government for not creating jobs, instead of blaming the unemployed. It is an interesting exercise. Contrition is not an emotion that we appear to embrace as Australian citizens.

This politics driven fear is also blinding us. We are losing focus. The fear of people from different lands and different religions is so critical we cannot take our eyes off them for a second. It is vital to share, share, share anything we can find, made up or not on the internet. It is critical to continuously reinforce this fear as legitimate and worthy to defend.

It is more important to have conversations on social media that can last days about how the viewpoint of one radical Muslim is the view of all Muslims; than to really engage thoughtfully and productively about how we can lift good Australian people out of poverty.

It is more important to remain silent on humanitarian issues,and use our fear of a religion we don’t understand as an excuse, because if we really stop and think about it; we may realise we are actually being inhumane and that is an ugly truth to face.

What fear is driving us that we are content with leaving other human beings in indefinite detention?  Indefinite – without a hope, never to be released – just in case the key word has not hit you yet. Murderers get less.

The irrational politics driven fear that unionists are doing less work than the regular taxpayer for a greater gain, is more important to hold onto, than to stand with unionists who have given us the work-life we enjoy today and that they continuously fight for. This fear culminates and makes us forget that we once stood with pride and dignity and shed tears to remember those workers who were jailed, murdered, maimed, starved and broken just so our labour is recognised as a valuable input in exchange for fair wages and safe conditions.  How soon we have forgotten the pain of John Howard’s Work Choices?

Every single time we share memes, or have conversations that reinforce the politics driven fear espoused by the Liberals and the Nationals, and now the more right wing parties; we are condoning the infliction of pain on the vulnerable.

We have a responsibility to stop and take stock that this rhetoric that is being whipped into a frenzy day after day has gone too far.  It is time to sit up and take notice, that by doing this, we are hurting the people we talk about helping in other conversations we have

It is time to stop and think about those on the right who say they have the solutions, actually don’t.  It is time to really listen to their proposals. Tearing down the worker and punishing those who are unemployed due to Government failure is not a solution. Dividing people by race or religion is not a solution. Clinging to the harmful measures that create more poverty and more divisiveness are not solutions. Why this is not being realised is the real phenomenon.

Choose Populism if you want a Rock Star. Reject it if you want a leader.

Some appear to be genuinely good people. However, politics driven fear is driving some people to throw brimstone and fire at those they want to help, instead of at the Government and other right wing parties who are the central cause of the problem.

It is time to take a stand to honour those and respect those who cannot, to challenge the Turnbull Government and others every time they reinforce the degradation of a vulnerable group.

It is time to stop sharing derogatory memes and start having real conversations about how we can build a nation, and not share our acceptance of helping the Liberals and others on the right tear it down.

It is time to stop dividing and start uniting. It is time for a hand up and to bring back the fair go.

It is time for the mate-ship and camaraderie we apparently as Australians represent.

I miss that. Do you?

30 comments

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  1. Ricardo29

    Well written Trish. I agree with all you say but particularly the idea of making the unemployed survive for a month without income. I find this a particularly egregious proposition. I would like to see Hanson, Porter, Morrison et al go without any form of income for a month, isolated from other forms of support. We need a very radical change in perspective but won’t get it from either of the major parties and it needs to come from the leadership.

  2. nurses1968

    Trish, with respect, there are reasons for concern in some areas that never existed previously.My employer wanted me to accompany her on their current holiday in France Belgium and Greece.I checked on Smart traveller and decided it was smarter to stay home do my job and care for all her animals.At least these animals only bite peck and butt not stab shoot and bomb.The world is a more dangerous place

  3. Trish Corry

    Of course there are fears when travelling overseas to certain areas. However, the things I am talking about in this piece are memes and conversations that make out that all muslims are terrorists, the dentist, the doctor, the postman, the taxi driver….or all unemployed people are choosing to be unemployed etc., It feeds in to the harmful fear driven rhetoric that the right enjoy so much. After all, why should we not trust the very people who bring these fears to our attention?

  4. bobrafto

    nurses
    The world has always been a dangerous place, it was really bad up to the 2nd world war and thru it.

    Australia exported their fair share of terrorists however in those days they were called mercenaries.

    Genocide and ethnic cleansing still continues unabated.

    You probably have the same odds to be bombed by a terrorist os as to being hit by a bus, or to be bitten by a venomous spider or snake or get taken by a shark.

    But you can’t beat that comfort zone.

  5. Steve Laing

    Nurses1968 – it would appear they’ve got you. You have probably got more chance of being killed looking after the animals than going to Europe. Despite the media’s best efforts, it is not a war zone / rape hotspot.

    I loved this from Dune, the SF novel by Frank Herbert. It is the mantra recited by the “Bene Gesserit”, an order of females who led no empires, but influenced all of them.

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

    Fear is the mind killer. It is an instinct for animals. If humans are to be more than animals, we can, using reason and logic, stop it controlling us.

    Trish – this isn’t a new phenomenon. Organised religion discovered the value of fear in controlling people. Hell is not a biblical concept. It was invented by the Catholics, just as pugatory was as an excellent means to raise cash. Fear is very effective, if you succumb to it.

  6. Harquebus

    I am beginning to think that there are not the hordes of racists and undesirables out there that we think there are.

    Trolls are paid to discredit ideas that TPTB do not like. More recently we have to contend with artificial intelligence bots, trollbots, that can do better and even respond with counter arguments.

    How many trollbots have we been arguing with and how many conversations are we witnessing that are trollbot vs trollbot?

    AI is even writing articles and news stories. I expect to see a Max Headroom appearing soon.

    Search criteria: trollbot

  7. mark

    as a fearful neurotic,I’d like to agree with all the posts above,mark

  8. Harquebus

    Steve Laing

    I remember MS having trouble with their chatbot. Moving electrons quickly learning to hate and ridicule. Could it be that it learned too well from other trollbots?

    I apologies for not responding more fully to your comment over on forget whose page regarding conspiracies. We were digressing from the topic at hand.

    I have no doubt that the regular theAIMN authors are real people. The rest of us all suspect.

    Cheers.

  9. Trish Corry

    I don’t know the answer. Another blogger had a post not long ago – John I think about the hatefulness on social media within FB Groups. I used to take my sword and go and slay some orcs, but they just appear to multiply and bring reinforcements. I ended up contributing in political online groups less and less.

    The other day I stood up for SSM on Twitter and it ended up with the religious nutter I was debating with him tweeting to everyone that I wanted to kill people. It was a bizarre incident. In his mind – leftism meant I wanted to murder people, especially him. Go figure. Another one for the block list.

    I have come to accept that there are different groups of people. Some are blindly racist and derogatory to the lower class and they will never change. They cling to paternalism and patriotism for dear life. There are some who are racist and derogatory towards the unemployed, not because they are bad people, but because that rhetoric has been reinforced as normal and they see certain stereotypes as the reality. They never question it because so many others reinforce it. They simply think it is true. It is this group that most concerns me.

  10. Trish Corry

    Thanks Silkworm. Short but powerful.

  11. diannaart

    Thoughtful article, Trish.

    Just because this article states what should be the bleeding obvious, does not mean it is not worthy of repetition.

    While a liveable income is yet to trickle down from the wealthy, fear is given away. If someone wishes to control a person’s behaviour one of the best messages is that of danger – don’t go out by yourself, don’t wear that type of clothing, don’t sit in the front seat of a taxi, don’t travel on public transport at night, don’t help that person – they’ll just expect help all the time…

    Using fear is a favourite tool of the judgemental, such people get their egos bolstered if they can both find fault and instil fear in others. This tool is available to anyone, it is cheap and so very easy to use. Anyone can do it.

  12. Trish Corry

    Thanks Diann. My aim is to not rest until the current jobseeker model is dismantled. That is the root cause of so many problems. Politicians use fear to take aim at the consequences of the jobsearch model as the root cause of other problems. It is so unfair.

    Strong Voices like Dr. John Falzon help. I have been wracking my brain as to the best strategy to really push for change. The treatment of jobseekers is the thing that distresses me the most on a daily basis.

  13. Wayne Turner

    Great article. The ultra right love us fighting the”others”.To distract us from disagreeing/attacking them.

    Sadly,I think the majority are the problem ie: Lack critical thinking skills,are gullible,ignorant,and easy led.. They follow the flock with these attacks…

  14. Trish Corry

    Thanks Wayne. I’m interested in the demographics statistics. In my personal experience it isn’t young people so much, but people around my age or older (40’s plus). It is a catch 22 for me. The more fragmented politics becomes and the more people start arguing for smaller fragmented parties to have input, I believe the higher the rate of right wing parties will infiltrate the parliament. The reason I say this is traditionally laborists and leftists such as say socialist alliance and unions are about solidarity. It is about building up a a base and standing together. As a Laborist, I don’t want Labor to have to negotiate with some right wing nutjob and make concessions so good policy is no longer good policy just to get it through. Labor does it to Liberals all the time. Imagine it the other way around. No thanks. The more fragmented we become, the further right we will shift and the harder it will be to pull it back. It has been damn hard to pull anything back to the left since Howard. If Labor hadn’t stuffed up with the Rudd Gillard Rudd debacle, we could have almost have been there, if they won in their own right instead of Abbott. If you read the IPA’s essays on their 75 radical ideas (be like Gough) they had for Abbott, Roskam basically says this – the task was for Abbott to shift Australia so far to the right, the left couldn’t pull it back.

  15. philgorman2014

    Divide and rule. Engendering fear of the other is a primitive but all too effective political strategy.

  16. Annie B

    Fear is often the tool used by the unsure in society, as they cannot get their messages across with positive thought and contemplation – ( which is something they don’t have, and are not capable of ) … and in that regard, one lot of the ‘unsure’ is currently the LNP in this country. …

    We have to see through them – discard fear as a loathsome thing – and continue to do what we believe we should do, despite the added endless array of fear-laden news, ‘advice’ ( via TV newscasts ), and constant monstering by the MSM. … who like nothing better than to promote fear to audiences – ad nauseum. Oh how they must feel bereft of newsworthy articles, since Abbott disappeared from the top spot. … which might be why we are confronted by loads of unhealthy ( and largely un-necessary ) news from the good ole U.S. of A, these days ??

    As for memes on social media – I would suggest Trish, you cull your entire ‘friends’ lists – and start again. … I am no fan of social media – it can lead to some horrid confrontations, trolling, and abuse which I have often seen and have been briefly subject to – briefly because I end it pronto. …. but –

    Blatant anti-Muslim, anti-refugees, anti-homeless, anti-jobless – I can honestly say I have not seen – except for once – which I reported, and then blocked the poster ( on Facebook ), and one other anti-Muslim – pro Hanson bod, who has been removed from my friends list.

    It is up to the users of social media to maintain their own integrity and do something about indiscriminate and racial, vile posts, memes, articles from suspect blogs, etc – which on FB they can do … IF they can locate the vastly greyed out little downward pointing ‘ v ‘ located at the top right hand corner of a post. …. This gives choices ( for the time being ) of ‘not following’ or ‘reporting’ ( not that reporting does much good !! ), or ‘not liking’ … which leads to questions – which the user can ignore….. ‘ hiding ‘ the post is a better choice – at least it does not go any further than ones’ own pages.

    ,,,,,,,,,,

    p.s. philgorman2014 – you are absolutely right.

  17. Annie B

    Steve Laing …..

    The link you provided re tay/microsoft/chatbot/racist .. was frightening, and even more so in exploring the links within that article. AI I do not agree with and never will…. can take everything way too far, and obviously does. … and I don’t think FB is above going down this same path – even now. …

    I get some quite extraordinary posts to my home page from bods I have only heard of through being friends of my own ‘friends’ and even posts that FB ‘considers’ I might be interested in, because of my own activity – from people I’ve never even heard of at all – so am backing off using that form of social media – and indeed all others – beginning recently.

    Sadly, many of my long time friends ( who used to use email !! ) … now rely solely on Facebook and Twitter, a couple on Tumblr which I have never signed in to … and some on Linked In – which is resembling more and more each day – the likes of Facebook in its formats.

    So, if I want to keep in touch with friends or acquaintances, to follow what they might be doing – I am faced with checking into ( particularly ) Facebook just to keep up – by accessing their Timelines.

    Kinda sad … isn’t it ?

  18. townsvilleblog

    Trish, your writing continues to better itself with every article you write. Of course you are 100% correct we all must have empathy and compassion for our fellow mankind. Things have not progressed since Whitlam because Whitlam was an inspiring leader who led from the front. We have not seen his ilk since. Whitlam though he was a Queen’s Counsel Barrister spoke the layman’s English very well, he explained unfairness in practical terms, I recall how he demonstrated once how his Commonwealth (joke!) driver paid more in taxes than he did, and why that was wrong.

    We are in desperate need of that inspiration from a Labor Leader again, Australian people have sunk back into apathy and complacency once more, believing that there is nothing we can do regarding our situation. We desperately need Bill Shorten to begin campaigning for the next election now, right now. He needs to be traveling and spreading the word that if we elect a Labor Government at the next election, this is what he will do to make our collective lives better, more wholesome more Australian.

    Who knows how long this Abbott/Turnbull govt will last, with Newspoll returning a report that thie L&NP Turnbull/Joyce govt had less support now (38%) than it had when Abbott led it (39%). It could very well fracture before Christmas, we could be voting again by Feb’17’ Labor can’t afford this chance to go past. Australians cannot afford to let this chance pass. Campaigning must begin now!

  19. trishcorry

    I agree Shaun. Shorten is going to the regions. He was in Rockhampton not long ago. Has he been up to Townsville yet? I think they need to start putting their policies on the table and trying to force the Liberals to adopt them. Then the Liberals would be forced to deny good policy and they would look even worse than they do now. I think we will be back at an election a lot sooner than we think. I find Bill very inspirational. It is a shame that the quick snippets on TV do not do him justice. I have said for a long time – If only everyone could actually meet Bill in person, they would change their mind.

  20. Annie B

    Trish –

    “It is a shame that the quick snippets on TV do not do him justice.”

    Most of the TV MSM is controlled by Murderoch, who is right wing to the enth degree and in the handbags of the Liberals … and vice versa.

    So – they edit out much of what Bill Shorten has to say – even ( disgustingly ) to two or three words – cut embarrassingly short – which I have seen them do … all designed to show him as a non-entity, not important, a 3 or few words dumb-dumb, which of course he is not.

    They do this for their bias and obedience to the right wing factions.

    The commercial TV stations will never show him in a good and positive light on a normal daily basis – but they are forced to give him equal, after a writ for an election is issued – however, that does not presume that it would be fair and unedited commentary, shown by them.

    http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/political-matter-tv-content-regulation-i-acma – [ relating to the Broadcasting Services act 1992.]

    The ABC – who imo gives the best and fairest pre-election time to both major parties … are a much better bet, but not everyone tunes into the old Aunty – preferring instead the hyperbole dished out by commercial TV and radio.

    And yes, Bill Shorten needs to get his act together NOW … and not necessarily relying on the MSM to do anything positive to help. He must find other ways.

  21. Möbius Ecko

    Annie B I can only agree with you on the ABC to a small degree. Examples I can cite are during Abbott’s opposition the ABC unremittingly referred to him and his colleagues whenever the Labor government said something. The phrases, “The leader of the opposition says”, “the opposition says”, “the shadow minister for …… says” and so on. The Abbott opposition got more time in reply than the government did in their initial statement, and more favourable time often without challenge to blatant untruths.

    How often do you hear those phrases now Labor is in opposition.

    The other is the unusual number of times the ABC has technical difficulties with crosses to Labor interviews, including on radio, yet not with L-NP ones. Indeed even the quality is often vastly different, with again Labor getting the short end.

  22. Annie B

    Mobius Ecko …

    I take your point, but !! …….

    Possibly because I prefer the ABC and many of its’ current programmes, to most of the trash dished up on commercial TV, I think that overall there seems to be more equality from the ABC ( including their send-ups ). .. And a member of our household is far more inclined to watch commercial TV … so I catch a lot of that when cooking dinner, doing my household thing etc.

    The ABC however, is not perfect – and whenever Abbott opened his mouth back then – news happened – across the board. … He was positively demonic and full of vitriole in opposition – and therefore could not be overlooked ( more’s the pity ). Not even by the good ole ABC !! He made NEWS !! … ( yuck )

    I think a few of the ABCs’ current affairs programmes tried valiantly to pin Abbott down about his untruths, but he is such a very slippery customer – they didn’t succeed on many occasions.

    We don’t hear much from Labor in opposition because frankly they don’t play the game the same way, and do not pack punches – don’t have a lot of real clout from the opposite side of Parliament. …. They need a ‘slippery customer’ … to make news. …. There is little to no honour in Parliament, and it is of no use to be too moral about anything there. …. Labor are a decent lot – – – perhaps just a little TOO decent ? when Parliament sits.

    ……..

    Two lounge / family rooms – Two TV’s in this ‘ouse …. which is just as well. 😉 … I am Labor, other half is Liberal … so we never ever discuss politics. 🙂 🙂

  23. Annie B

    paulwalter …

    A good article on Club Troppo … and your reply to comments there. … Liked the analogy to do with the buying of a car unseen …. we are indeed expected to swallow, hook line and sinker, whatever would-be and are-already, politicians spruik – without question. !!

    Much of it is indeed a ” politico-infotainment complex ” and getting worse by the day – especially from that grandest of countries, wot think they are exceptional !! 🙁 – – which leads me to ask – why the hell do we have to put up with their news every day, these days. … ? … I catch that garbage while making dinner, and I swear one day, I will be putting in 1/2 a cup salt when it’s supposed to be sugar.

    Could be interesting !! …. LOL.

  24. Annie B

    Trish ….

    I did …. and it is. …

    Also left a comment there.

  25. diannaart

    Annie B

    Separate TV’s – is that all, I mean, married to a Liberal? Apologies, I am the kind of person who ponders Christmas day at the Costellos and much, much darker…

    You are a paragon of tact, diplomacy and very resourceful.

  26. Annie B

    Ah thank you diannaart … but you are much too kind. … Resourceful – yep, sort of … the rest ?

    Hope you never see me here, on a truly bad day 🙂 😉 🙁

    Had to laugh about Uhlmann, who I would think, is rather ( or maybe ultra ) right wing conservative, married to Gai Brodtmann, member of the H of R – Labor Party – seat of Canberra, won rather convincingly July 2016. …

    Might not be a matter of two TV’s there – rather, whose turn is it tonight in the granny flat out the back !!

    p.s. … glad you enjoyed the links on the other article – re katabatic winds etc. … Good to know. 🙂

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