Last week, candidates from all parties were starting to drop like flies as they were disendorsed by their parties for embarrassing remarks they had made on so-called social media. The dumped candidates still stay on the ballot paper, of course, but they will not be elected because they will not have volunteers at polling booths to hand out how-to-vote cards and without a card to copy from, most voters would not know how to cast a valid vote if their life depended on it. The main causes of their fall from grace seemed to be bad jokes, some comments lovingly described by the press as ‘anti-Muslim rants’ and other posts with sexual allusions that were not politically correct or approved by the high priests of morality who control our lives these days.
I had three reactions to the outburst of morality that led to these wayward candidates biting the dust. My first reaction was how divorced from reality the whole thing was, for the simple reason that the offending comments are the sort of things that most people believe anyway and, at worst, are normal human failings. For instance, my only complaint against political candidates on the Muslim issue is that they are far too coy in saying what the rest of us believe, that we made a grave mistake in bringing large numbers of people here from an alien culture when they had no intention of even trying to assimilate. But of course the offending comments were not approved by the high priests so, poor shrinking violets that we are, we had to be protected from such nasty ideas. My second reaction was that the democratic process means you should know as much as possible about all candidates in your electorate, and then you weigh up the good, the bad and the gor blimey and make a judgment. You do not vote against a candidate just because he or she made a single statement with which you disagree or find unsavoury.
My third reaction was a more precise one and concerned, I think, the only candidate who really deserved the sack. Luke Creasey was the ALP candidate for Melbourne, a seat it could have won, but he was dumped because he put up some lewd jokes about lesbians , female anatomy, rape, Tony Abbott, one about a female friend having sex with multiple parties and someone ‘roughly’ taking a girl’s virginity. But what worried me about young Luke was not the jokes, which we should be able to take in our stride and move on; in fact, they are so tedious they should be given an airing at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. No, what worried me was how he explained them away. He said that his predicament in being exposed was ‘a really important lesson for young people that your social media footprint will follow you.’ In other words, jokes about rape and lesbians are wrong if you get caught, but not otherwise. My mind went back to President Obama’s ill-considered remarks on the shooting of the young African-American boy, Trayvon Martin by a vigilante in 2012. He said that the shooting was terrible because ‘this could have been my son.’ Then, when the vigilante was acquitted of the killing, and the hot house atmosphere of race politics really burst open, he added ‘Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.’ One of the sharper conservative critics in the US, Aaron Worthing, made the devastating response that Obama apparently believed that if Trayvon could not have been his son, that is, if he were white rather than black, the shooting would not have been so terrible. If Luke Creasey believes that making jokes about lesbians and group rape is legitimate so long as you are not caught on Facebook with your media footprint around your ankles, he should be condemned and certainly not endorsed or elected.
I cast my vote the other day, but with a decided lack of enthusiasm. No, it was not because of the complaint that the whingers make, that the parties are not talking about this or that vitally important issue. No, my hesitancy is because there is one subject they all want to talk about, and insist on doing so, vision. It is absolutely important, Morrison and Shorten keep saying, that we have a vision for the future of Australia and then they go on and tell us in excruciating detail what their vision is. I thought we had seen the last of vision once we came to see what a disaster it had been under Whitlam, Rudd and most of the others. But it can come back, just as measles is coming back at the present time. In fact, vision is worse than measles because you can be vaccinated against measles, but vision is essentially contagious and once it takes hold, it spreads like wildfire. In fact, with all the kissing and hugging that goes on in politics it is inevitable it will spread. Everyone wants to have a vision. And the great danger for political parties is that they might fall behind in the vision gap, like the missile gap in the Cold War. There are four undeniable features of vision: it never improves anything, it makes a lot of things much worse, it never works and I always end up paying for it. And you are also paying for it. In fact, if you use Brown’s sliding scale of vision misery, you will find that your tax bill and general feeling of pointlessness in life increase in direct proportion to the raving enthusiasm of politicians to implement their own version of vision on us. I don’t want vision from politicians. I want the society to be left alone so that free people, working to advance themselves, will produce far more for the common good than vision ever did or will.
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