The next three years and the next generation

8 Oct

With the election results released and an Abbott Government settling in our busted up hearts, it’s time to look ahead to the next three years.

As a single mother who works freelance (in the arts, no less. I know, fuck me, right?), rents and frets over her daughter’s education and near-certain tenancy of a broken planet, I’m not looking forward to the next three years. In fact, I’ve been hurridly trying to apply for jobs because I suspect my ability to earn will be obliterated under Abbott.  Who wants to pay for feminist editorial in an age of neo-conservatism?

Some of us remember what it was like living under Howard and, more locally, living under Kennett. Within the priveleged lens of western life, they were brutal times where essential services were cut, long term vision blurred and the hatred was bilious.

In the immediacy of each depressing election, people will fire and scratch about the voting process, the media and every other shadow and structure they feel have denied them their right. Democracy is a sham! It’s been bought!

Underneath it all, is the slow realisation that you were out of step with the rest of the population. You probably won’t know anyone who voted for the Liberals. I went for years before knowing anyone who voted for Howard and his gang and I never met a Kennett voter. Even if you do know someone (apart from your parents or online people) who voted Liberal, very few in your circles will admit it.

But now’s not the time to screech conspiracies. Democracy isn’t broken because the party you wanted elected failed. Democracy has always been for sale, it’s just developed better selling techniques.

But these people voted. They voted against you. They voted in larger numbers than you and your tower of similarly ideologically-minded friends. They voted and they voted democratically.

We’re on the outer now. Lick your wounds, sober up from your bender and adapt. Smarten the fuck up. Right now.

Andrew P Street, a close friend, saw ahead and wrote why an Abbott election victory would be good. It’s as effective as it is consoling, a battle cry for the left to not give up, see the positives of running lean and angry and renew our efforts to not let Abbott and co have an easy term (which, as an aside, is just repaying them for the courtesy they showed the left over the past two terms).

The fight is now on. We need to learn new techniques, new measures and counter-measures that actually convert and subvert rather than complain and maintain. It all sounds pithy and superficial but it contains what I feel is a crucial truth: left-based commentary needs to try harder and communicate better not with the converted but to engage with those who aren’t.

There has been one immensely pleasing consolation to all of this. Sahra Stolz reminded me today on Facebook that “I feel like this term of LNP, or “compassion drought” as I like to think of it, is going to be vitally formative for our kids. 10 years of Howard probably did more for my sense of what’s right than any ALP PM could have.”

She makes a compelling point. I thought back to growing up in the 80s, snatching glances at newspaper cartoons and tv reports over my father’s shoulder to learn about Thatcher, Regan and even Fraser. I was told they were the good guys but to me they were terrifying, their good guy status tattered by the protests and criticism I saw I surround them.

Though such an assertion would indicate this weekend’s vote was formed by distaste of Keating and Hawke and doesn’t take into account upbringing, it does resonate and offer some consolation while speaking to the cyclical nature of political swings.

So to Abbott and every Liberal crowing today, I thank you.

Your right wing victory just made the next generation left wing.

Note: the use of ‘we’ and ‘you’ is to indicate you’re only reading this because we’re both left-aligned.

One Response to “The next three years and the next generation”

  1. Clair October 8, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    We overcame the Howard years, not unscathed, but we overcame them. We will overcome the Abbott years too. You’re absolutely right, having a conservative in power definitely proves how wonderful a socialist leader really is.

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