On hating the government

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Photographer: Mugley, Source, Licence 

Photographer: Mugley, SourceLicence 

With the release of the federal budget in the last few weeks the Government is receiving more hate than usual. The supposed errors those pesky Liberals have made in delegating the nation’s money supply have sparked outrage from Australians of all walks of life. Joe Hockey is Lucifer himself, slashing our entitlements with a smoking pitchfork; his ‘misogynist’ buddy, Tony, heaving as much furniture up against the  ‘door to Australia’ as possible to keep the seafaring foreigners out.

Those evil pollies can’t do anything right and we, proud Australians, make sure that our loathing is heard.

This amount of public hate isn’t new. The Howard Government was demonised as racists in 2001 because of their stance on refugees. Fast forward a few years; not only was good ole Julia blasted for her supposed lack of vision and policy commitment, but allegations were made against the size of her behind. Excuse me while I exploit this opportunity to rant, but what does the circumference of Julia Gillard’s backside have anything to do with the governing of our ‘young and free’ nation? Come on Australia, you’re better than that crap!

I digress.

 " I will forever stand by the opinion that political discussions on social media are worse than an online row between two 13 year old girls... "

We, dwellers of the Land Down-Under, are good at hating. Not once have I ever encountered a headline that read ‘Good Job, Julia’ or ‘Thanks, K-Rudd, for Getting Us through the GFC with Minimal Debt’. As a nation, we are internationally known for our mateship, yet we are unwaveringly nasty to our leaders. Leaders WE voted into power. It seems Australians are afflicted by a ravenous craving to unite against something. If we don’t have a communist threat or an imminent war to rally our nationalism, we seem to revert to a pattern of bullying and slagging our own government.

Undoubtedly, this criticism is often merited.

Yet, despite the fact that politicians have a reputation for being story-fabricating narcissists, you have to give them credit for being brave. It would take a lot of courage, or a certain amount of well-concealed insanity, to put yourself forward to lead a nation of unsatisfiable critics. We hunch over our smartphones, with a self-righteous pretentiousness  and rant about the scandal of Tony Abbot’s latest statement. We are  aware that Abbot’s statement was probably taken out of context and manipulated by a sadistic journalist; we rant anyway.

Facebook is notorious for these rants. I remember a time, back in my early high school years, when politically-infused Facebook statuses were foreign to me. None of my friends cared about politics and the worst thing that could pop up in my newsfeed was cat fight. As much as I am pro-political discussion these days, I do not consider Facebook the appropriate forum for ideological debate and I often find myself nostalgically yearning for the newsfeed of my tweens; a magical land liberated from the recurrent, verbal assaults on politician ‘X’. I will forever stand by the opinion that political discussions on social media are worse than an online row between two 13 year old girls who have the hots for the same pre-pubescent boy.

Yes, our politicians do and say some undeniably stupid things, probably worth an impassioned Facebook rant. Take Julia Gillard’s scandalous acquisition of the position of Labor leader over Kevin Rudd, for example, after numerous claims she would never even consider such a betrayal. We shake our heads and wag our fingers at her stupidity and outright lies. However, we would fare no better. The job of a politician is not easy. Most of us don’t even possess the guts to speak in front of a small crowd, let alone be constantly harassed by the media and have everything that we say taken out of context. Our nation’s leaders have a tough task; perhaps some good, old-fashioned encouragement is needed.

Forgive the cheesy sentiment, but we citizens and politicians are actually all alike; we all want the best for our nation.

Winston Churchill once described democracy as the ‘worst form of government, except for all the others’. Put differently, democracy is the best ‘worst’ system we, as a human race, have conjured up. In our democratic nation it is important that we are critical of our leaders to ensure that our freedoms are preserved. We don’t, however, need to be offensive and abusively sarcastic.

In writing this, I’m not trying to start a national Snap Cup movement of tacky, fake encouragements and cheer or anything remotely so cringe-worthy. No. All I’m saying is maybe we need to consider the way we treat our politicians. We claim to be a country of mateship and respect, so why don’t we ditch the uneducated slagging and extend this proud legacy to the way we treat our leaders

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