23 November, 2007

holy shit, it's all over tomorrow!

I'm not really coping right now. I'm certainly not functioning like a normal human being, and I must apologise to everyone who has the misfortune of enduring my company between now and tomorrow night. I am so tense and nervous I can actually feel my blood trying to push its way out of my veins.

One of the only ways I can keep myself together (not to mention distract myself from my workmates who are known to exclaim things like, "I'm not votin' for that squinty-eyed little bastard (meaning Rudd, apparently). We're better off under these cunts (meaning the Coalition, apparently) than we ever have been!"), is to rant away on this here blog. So here goes...

Let me tell you five things that
absolutely shit me to tears about this election.


i.e. People who don't decide who to vote for until the last minute.
Call me a political snob, but I have no respect whatsoever for so-called "swinging" voters. One of the great flaws of our political system is that it's inevitably the least informed, most apathetic section of the population who decide the result of our elections.
Ladies and gentlemen of the marginals: democracy, on the whole, is awesome. Sure, the system has its problems, but compared to the alternatives it is a great gift. And yet, like a puppy at Christmas, it's a gift that comes with a certain amount of responsibility. If you're going to accept the
right to choose who leads you, it is also your responsibility to make that choice in an informed manner. It is not acceptable to turn up and treat the Federal Election like the Melbourne Cup. Simply backing the runner with the prettiest name, or with your favourite colour on his hat, is not acceptable.
It is your responsibility to know what the candidates stand for. Which brings me to my next point...

i.e. The completely baseless notion that there is no difference between Rudd and Howard.
This is pure laziness on the part of voters and, worse still, on the part of the political media. It seems to have become a fall-back position in this campaign to simply paint Rudd as "Howard Lite", or as a younger more sprightly version of our current leader. I suppose relying on such ridiculously simplistic untruths is easier than actually paying attention to the content of campaign launches and policy statements.
I myself have pointed to numerous occasions on which Rudd has seemed to miss an opportunity to differentiate himself from Howard on a key issue. But as frustrating as this has been, the always-insightful Possum has pointed out that this merely shows Rudd's clever wedge-avoidance tactics. I don't like it, and I often feel like my own opinions aren't being voiced by either side, but that doesn't mean they're both the same.
Some of the ALP's policies are similar to some of the Coalition's. Of course they are, they're seeking to govern the same country, in the same circumstances. But if you honestly can't find a point of differentiation in the general political philosophy of these two men, you aren't yet well-informed enough to deserve a vote, and you certainly aren't well-informed enough to be commenting on politics in the public arena. Which brings me to my next point...

i.e. The almost total lack of meaningful political analysis by the mainstream press.
The standard of political "journalism" during this campaign has been, for the most part, deeply disappointing. There have been moments of gold from both Kerry O'Brien and Tony Jones on the ABC, and Laurie Oakes' response when Jackie Kelly attempted to turn the fake pamphlet fiasco into a LOL, was awesome to behold (the gold comes in the last third of this video). Meanwhile Difference of Opinion last night made an eleventh-hour attempt to actually throw some policy scrutiny into the discussion - outlandish notion!
But you only need to peruse the Murdoch media's output over the last six weeks to see how shallow much of the coverage has been. The Australian has rarely broken free of thinly-disguised Coalition barracking, while The Herald Sun's absurdity is exemplified by its final endorsement of Howard, in which it acknowledges Rudd ran the better campaign, made better policy statements and has made a strong case for change... but shouldn't win the election, because he has no experience in government. So, he shouldn't be Prime Minister because he hasn't been Prime Minister before. By which logic, the government should
never change ever, because it just might all go horribly wrong! Thanks for that brilliant insight, Herald Sun. (On the other hand, credit where it's due: congrats to most of the other Murdoch papers which have come through in the end. A cynical ploy by Murdoch to have a bet each way? Maybe, but at least it gives some impression of balance).

i.e. The absurd opinion that it's a bad idea to vote for a minor party as your first preference.
(Apologies to my father on this one. I love you dearly, and we share most of our political beliefs, but - with respect - you are full of shit on this issue.)
This comes from Beth Spencer in
The Age (via Mr Lefty) who puts it better than I ever could:
Indeed far from wasting your vote, by putting an alternative party first you can, in a sense, double your vote's value.

If the alternative candidate doesn't make the count for the final showdown, the full value of your vote is automatically redistributed to your second choice. So you still get to vote to decide on which party forms the government. But you also get to send a message that the concerns, policies and approaches of the alternative party are important to you, a message that can have a powerful resonating effect throughout the next three years...

...But if you put them second, and put a major party first, no-one will ever know. The effect is zero.
For the record, I am voting The Democrats number 1 at this election - both because they are the party that most closely represents my own beliefs, and because I think it would be a tragedy to see them wiped out (as is a very real danger at this election).

i.e. The contemptible man whose divisive, dishonest politics have set this country back decades.

He must go. Enough said.


On a lighter note...

I now have a definite answer if I'm ever asked, Rove style, who I would turn straight for. Ladies and gentlemen, Senator Penny Wong.

We watched her on Lateline the other night, and when she said the words "scandalous affair", I swear I almost came. Hot.



Blogger JahTeh said...

I got the daily double yesterday with a taxi driver who moaned about how bad business is then told me he was voting Liberal because Labor can't manage money,duh. And for desert he wants to bring back National Service, my pet hate.

November 23, 2007 10:05 pm  
Anonymous psychopompous said...

Hooray! Someone else voting Democrat. Yes, it would be tragic to see them go. They're so much more sensible and level-headed than the Greens, while still representing similar policy positions. I don't want to vote Green until they sort themselves out and develop a bit of realistic pragmatism - and so far they've never been put in a position where they've had to. Of course, if they do get the balance of power, all that will change, and boy will that be interesting to watch.

November 24, 2007 11:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are aware, of course, that because we have compulsory voting that the so-called "swinging voters" that you vituperate are usually only voting to avoid being fined. If you believe that every person has the motivation or capacity to "accept the right to choose who leads" them, I suggest you pull your self-righteous finger out of your ass and use that to mark your ballot paper. In theory people should vote for the person who will best represent the interests of the electorate in which they live. But it's not a perfect world, is it?

December 01, 2007 3:46 pm  
Blogger mindlessmunkey said...

Yes, I am well aware of the ramifications of our compulsory voting system, thanks anonymous.

Unfortunately, I don't really understand your comment; you seem to be reiterating my own points, while simultaneously abusing me for them.

I know that not everyone has the motivation or capacity to vote responsibly. My point is that they should. As you say, it's not a perfect world.

December 01, 2007 4:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow.. you consider that abuse. How unfortunate that you can malign a sizeable cross-section of the nation for not adequately researching their choice of candidate and yet fail to grasp that they may feel they are making the most informed choice they can.

By the way you're just the individual whose opinion I chose to comment on of all those that I read and let slide.

You cannot force people to take an interest in politics, even if you believe it to be for their own good. Express your opinion, but I would refrain from the word "should" when referring to the general populace. You sound like John Howard... now that's abuse!

December 02, 2007 3:04 pm  
Blogger mindlessmunkey said...

"By the way you're just the individual whose opinion I chose to comment on of all those that I read and let slide."

Wow. I feel so fortunate. Next time do us both a favour and keep on clickin', 'kay?

December 05, 2007 6:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah... I won't be doin' that. I can tell you enjoy lapping up the hosannahs on your blog.

Well whatever, buddy. Enjoy your self-contained delusion. Don't court attention then get huffy when it 'aint all accolades. If you publish on the web, then cop it sweet.

And you should feel fortunate...
Have a great day P...

December 06, 2007 12:29 pm  

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