During a recent exchange with a gentleman on Facebook, I was driven to respond to his rather offensive, right-wing, neo-liberal post that celebrated the conservative side of politics.
We’ve all seen such posts; those rather hastily thrown together, factually inaccurate and comical fragments of nonsense, cleverly designed to capture the attention of ignorant and gullible sponges?
Just a few of the standard lines of thought trotted out in such inflammatory posts include the reference to falsified statistics around welfare benefits paid to refugees, constant reminders of Australia’s foreign aid commitments and that old chestnut; the magical benefits of tax cuts to the rich and claims of an inevitable and glorious trickle down.
Scarier than the posts themselves are the thousands willing to defend the thinking and engage in on-line debate around it.
Those thinking outside that quasi-intellectual bubble; resisting the ever increasing bombardment of right-wing ultra-conservatism that looms like a dark cloud over us all, often take the bait and feel the need to respond.
In essence, that is what thinking, fair minded people should do. Merely standing by and allowing a conservative government to lie through its proverbial teeth without holding them to account is a dereliction of civic duty.
Sadly, the rather flawed and deceptive narrative of the conservatives has many convinced that cuts to penalty rates will indeed create more employment opportunities and that tax benefits to the upper end of town will improve the standard of living for all. When environmental policy is also thrown into the mix, the sheer manipulative nature of the regime in power is truly revealed.
It beggars belief, yet some take the bait hook, line and sinker. Sadly for the rest of us, they then feel the need to tell the world.
Those who do soak up the nonsense and spruik it far and wide via social media platforms, present potentially an even more damaging scenario than a government whose actual commitments are slowly but surely becoming more and more transparent and vacuous.
The person currently holding the highest office in the land adds another layer of danger to the entire scenario with a background in the rather flawed and misguided theology of prosperity preaching.
Many Pentecostal Christian organisations, such as the one attended by our Prime Minister adopt the most frightening line of thinking; crafting a rather tenuous link between strong faith, financial well-being and ultimate happiness.
It is somewhat devoid of compassion, justice or humility and creates hyper-confident evangelical Christians who firmly believe they are right and you, well, you are wrong. Given the chance, they will happily tell you in so many words.
My online comment in regards to the aforementioned post alluded to much of the above and was immediately responded to by a man who proudly identifies as both an economist and a Christian.
His response stunned me, and echoed the rhetoric sprouted by our conservatives on a national level. He simply wrote, ‘communism didn’t work.’
Apart from having never used the ‘c’ word in my post and merely calling for a far greater sense of egalitarianism and transparence within Australian politics and society, I was now, apparently, a communist. Replace the word with socialism and the two cornerstones of the knee-jerk defence mechanism of the conservatives is clear.
If you are not with us, you are against us.
Both Communism and Socialism are the terms frequently launched with vitriol at anyone who dares question the state of play; those members of the so called ‘left’. Perhaps a dramatic sting should accompany that phrase at coalition functions?
I’m getting a little sick of the ease with which the term is used by the ‘love it or leave it crowd.’
It is, in fact, a completely disrespectful dismissal of the sentiments of well-intentioned and intelligent individuals, concerned about the direction of the nation.
Often those admirable motivations are dismissed with a wave of the hand and a shrug. ‘Ah, the left’, they say. As if the members of the lunatic fringe have dared challenge their tactics and philosophies.
These days I care less and less about the label, as the true evils behind the Government continue to be exposed day after day. So call me as ‘left’ as you want, I’ll pick up your label and wear it with honour.
The political discourse in Australia has been cleverly crafted and driven by the intentions of an evil minority and recent policy decisions appear as the scariest of all.
My youthful dreams of bipartisan common sense and the advancement of a nation as the vested interest held by all, seem distant. Particularly amidst the constant dismissal of an alternative view as ‘left’ poppycock.
Thankfully, there is a good chance that enough people have now seen the reality. Here’s hoping that the House of Representatives may soon have only a small gathering of narrow minded fools shouting ‘left, left, left’.
Let’s also hope they are doing it from the other side of the chamber.