Perspective

Perspective
For those outside Australia who don’t know, we had a federal election two weeks ago. The result was so close that they’re still not exactly sure who’s going to be the Prime Minister. (It’s basically a tie between the two biggest parties, so they’re both trying to woo the few independents who were elected over to their side to form a majority.) Many of my Australian friends were extremely disappointed in this result. I saw comments on Twitter about how disillusioned they were with their fellow Australians. I saw people lamenting how stupid a lot of the the voters were. (We have compulsory voting here, so everybody HAS to turn up on polling day. Many of them chose to register blank votes though in protest of the major parties.) There are people who truly believe that this election presages a really dark time for Australia.

All I can say is: at least it’s not this crap. I’d still rather live here than in a country where supposedly a full QUARTER of the population believe that the President is a Muslim. Where a significant portion of them believe he’s the actual, literal Antichrist. Where Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh poison minds with their insinuations and manipulations. Where Sarah Palin incites violence and is somehow still viable as a Presidential candidate.

Trust me, Australia. I’ll take Tony Abbott over those ass-clown fundamentalist fearmongers any day.

And yeah, I’ve been trying not to talk politics here for a while, because I know it upsets some members of my family, and I’ll probably receive some loony drive-by comments from randoms as well. But as Ebert says, it’s time for reasonable people to start speaking up instead of ignoring this crap out of politeness.

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  1. When Ron Paul and the Georges Bush are the centrist voice on your side, perhaps you’re standing a bit too close to the edge.

  2. Seriously. It is sooooooooo depressing to be an American in America right now. There’s no conversation, just screaming and hate from the right, knuckling under from the left. Truly maddening.

  3. Im a bit sick of the whining here too. Its called a democracy. Do we only like it when the vote goes a certain way? And to be honest, if people want to play populism, they get the government they deserve. The American situation is just horrible, but I think we are not far off here too. The race to the bottom is well and truly on. I do wonder how people can talk about American values, or Australian values and then in the same breath preach hatred and bigotry. Ironic much? For what its worth, I enjoyed reading your perspective.

  4. Thanks for this Kris. It’s unsettling to have such an uncertain political situation, but you’re right: in Aus we don’t have as much fear and ignorance informing entrenched positions that we are seeing in the US.

  5. Even more to the point, where that many people not only (incorrectly) believe the President is a Muslim, but equate that as a bad thing and that somehow means he’s supporting enemies of the state and terrorists o_O

  6. Oh I’m so sick and sickened (is that possible?) of bigotry.

  7. Years ago John Rogers proposed the Crazification Factor to explain the 27% of Americans who thought George W. Bush did a great job: According to his theory, a little over one-fourth of U.S. citizens are just flat-out stone crazy. They’re either reasoning from loopy starting premises, woefully misinformed about how the world works, or they genuinely lack the capacity for rational thought, and the result is a solid voting bloc that literally can’t be reasoned with, and that makes an easy target for grifters and con artists (*cough* Beck, Palin, Gingrich *cough*).

    With that 27% firmly in the GOP camp, the Democrats need two-thirds of the non-crazy votes to get anything done… and the Republicans can just sit there throwing sand in the gears and waiting for the Democrats to lose momentum. Rational people pay less attention to off-cycle elections anyway, and low-information voters will blame the economy on the incumbents. So GOP blocks a few jobs bills, turns up the crazy, and waits for the midterms.

    This is also my cue to plug votefromabroad.org and democratsabroad.org/group/australia – the Democrats Abroad are active in Sydney (they’re having a picnic this Sunday), and the only way to defeat the know-nothings is to beat them at the polls. 😉

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