who are we kidding? elections are about ideology not policies

i passionately despise abbott

every time i hear “we’ll stop the boats” i want to invite the man to a bare knuckle cage fight and pummel him. this strong reaction made me think, “why do i hate this man so much? i’ve not even met him?”

as i watched the twitter stream, i watched as other seemingly intelligent people descend into zealotry. then i thought about my own motivations and i came to the conclusion that for all this talk about ‘policies’ what we’re all really voting on is ideologies. does this statement get an reaction from you? does it make you feel righteous indignation?

we hide behind ‘policies’ to rationalise what essentially irrational. commentators in the media, on twitter and out on the street all passionately put forward the reasons why they vote one way or the other. that they are right and others are wrong. at the end of the day we vote based on an ideology. is there such a thing as the right ideology?

who researches the every party’s policies before voting? read them line by line have we?

or have we just read what the media have told us? how we choose to vote may have come from how our parents voted or whether we believe that refugees will take ‘australian jobs’. it’s ideology that makes us right, left, conservative, centre, green, blue, or red. yet people seem to use ‘policy’ as justification to call each other names and take the high moral ground on twitter. i think it’s time we got off our high horses and stopped pretending that we are these altruistic creatures wanting what is really best for the country. what we want is a country moulded to our beliefs and prejudices.

it’s not just this election either

i’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s every election in the history of humanity. do you think social media really won the election for obama? or was it the resounding message of “change” regardless of the medium? didn’t obama just have the message that everyone wanted to hear? did he not just stand for an ideology? one that resonated? one that people were ready for?

i voted greens

i voted greens because of an ideal. i voted greens because i believe in their ideals. that in 2010 gay people should be able to express their love just like straight people. i am a refugee, and many of my family came here on boats just after the vietnam war. so tony’s ‘stop the boats’ offends me.

my best friend is a liberal voter

he votes liberal because he hates the union movement. he cannot name a single pro union piece of legislation but just can’t bring himself to vote for labor. he’s also from blue state perth. i have other friends that vote for a party because their parents voted for that party.

electorates remain ‘safe seats’ for parties because people identify with that party. go out west and people vote labor. go to sydney’s north shore and people vote liberal.

so here’s the crux of the issue

ultimately, in a democracy it’s the most popular ideology that wins power. that’s not to say that there are not any rights or wrongs, but for the most part our fellow australians have just walked a different path to us, and have different views.

so whatever you believe in, express it. debate it passionately, but don’t resort to the argument that my party’s ‘policies’ are better than your party’s ‘policies’ because really, what it’s all about is: “my prejudices are just different to your prejudices”.

and mr abbott, if you’re reading this, actually, i don’t hate you, but your ideologies are definitely not mine. for the sake of our nation, i hope more people are like me, than you.

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I'm a strategy guy at Ogilvy & Mather who likes old cameras and typewriters, fast bikes and rusty sunken ships.

Comments

  1. I agree. I voted Green too. And I love my Vietnamese friends who came here as refugees, Australia is so lucky to have all of you! I say you, but I mean us because that’s how much I love them/us. Thich Nhat Hanh has a song “because I am in you and you are in me … ” :) x ? ? ? ? ? ?

  2. Thanks Frances. I guess the Twittersphere is right, you are lovely! :)

  3. If I had the right to vote for anyone in this country I would have voted for the Greens as well. Just because they seem to be the only party in this country that has at least some common sense left. I believe ideology and policy go hand in hand, so despite the slight differences in economic policies on each side it would be fair to say they have one common ground. Racism.

    The repulsive use of asylum seekers as political footballs in public debate and media’s willingness to regurgitate misleading comments from both sides of the party lines without due analysis says more about this country than we would like to admit.

    It seems that even though Australia abolished its White Australia Policy in 1970, the underlying ideology still unifies the nation come election time.

  4. If I had the right to vote for anyone in this country I would have voted for the Greens as well. Just because they seem to be the only party in this country that has at least some common sense left. I believe ideology and policy go hand in hand, so despite the slight differences in economic policies on each side it would be fair to say they have one common ground. Racism.

    The repulsive use of asylum seekers as political footballs in public debate and media’s willingness to regurgitate misleading comments from both sides of the party lines without due analysis says more about this country than we would like to admit.

    It seems that even though Australia abolished its White Australia Policy in 1970, the underlying ideology still unifies the nation come election time.

  5. Thanks Emanuel for your thoughtful response. I am an optimist, and the optimist in me sees that even since the last Howard election public opinion has started to turn against the race card used in elections. Unfortunately, Tony Abbott has not.