Sunday, October 10, 2004

Black Sunday

Australia has re-elected the incumbent government with an increased majority. I can't bear to read a newspaper or watch television commentary. No doubt I'll eventually be able to face it, but the shock is too great right now.

We were appalled by the public's response to Tampa in 2001. We should be used to the idea that most people in this country make terrible political decisions.

What this says about the moral fortitude of the majority of the population I'm afraid to speculate on today. It's easy to think that most people are mean, selfish and stupid, because then we can just give up and ignore politics forever. I could take up basket weaving instead. It's more difficult to come to an empathetic understanding of why people voted the way they did, because it creates hope that something might change some day, and we should continue the fight to make that change happen.

But I'm still probably going to make the difficult choice - to try to figure out what was going on in people's minds when they voted Liberal - later, when I'm less emotionally connected to the whole thing, because I just can't bear living in a society where I have no faith that the next person is probably mostly good.

My parents taught me that most people are basically good. This is because God created them and God is in them. I don't believe in God anymore, so I don't have any reason to believe that people are good apart from the evidence of their actions. And I really want to find this evidence so I can be happy and not isolated.

Maybe the answer is that the advertising campaign was clever and most people are actually quite stupid - not being able to see through the campaign and not paying attention to sophisticated media. I could probably live with that. Stupid. Not selfish or mean. Just dumb. Thick. Can't help it.

Of course, then there's the question of why people didn't care about our involvement in the Iraq war, why people didn't care about detention of asylum seekers and why people didn't care that Howard lied about children overboard. I can't stop my brain from taking the next logical step and concluding that most Australians think white people good, brown people bad.


I had a large evening of commiserating last night that concluded at about 7am. But at some stage I've got to sober up and face the world. Perhaps my outlook will be a bit more colourful tomorrow.