It is with some trepidation that I venture into this post, but there are some things I'm thinking that I'd like to share and maybe some people out there can correct me or wise me up or whatever needs to happen here if I'm on the wrong track. I'm don't have much in the way of political savvy, but I do know that I dislike the pointless ranting and point scoring of many political figures who gather at rallies and galas to celebrate their egos while there are people starving in our world. It seems to me that we need some real heart to come into all these discussions because we are not just talking dollars and mineral resources, trees and electrical supply, leaky boats and lost jobs. We are talking about people; people who are not having their basic needs met and human rights honoured. I'm not just talking about those we hear about through Amnesty International or other human rights organisations, but people in our own local communities; in our own cities. Nonetheless, we are part of the population of a whole planet. Not just a town, a state, a country.
Right now I feel pretty sad and worried...not so much about the outcome of yesterday's voting here in Australia, because whoever 'wins' there will be some people unhappy with it...but moreso about the attitudes of people I know to be good people behaving in a way like children going Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah...We're the Winners, You're the LOSERS, Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah. Or on the other hand...you idiots that voted the new government in...you'll be sorry...you'll see...
The way I see it, we each make a very thoughtful choice as we put pencil to paper in the privacy of our cardboard cubicles at the polling stations. It is horribly disrespectful and unreasonable to ridicule or condemn someone for the way they choose to vote or for the parties or people they choose to back. In the end we need ALL of us to have a say...somehow. Most of us are thinking and caring individuals who want to to make the world a better place for ourselves or for our kids. This is good but perhaps we need to be looking a bit further than that. Creating division (further division) in our society is not going to help anyone. We have to find a way to work together to have some sort of balance in government here in Australia and across the world so that environments are protected, agriculture and business are sustainable and people have enough (food, freedom, choice, security...what things are important for ALL people??). It shouldn't be a warlike taking of sides; of winners and losers. While we are operating in that climate we are all losers because relationships are damaged and there are always people who are not being cared for. We have to find a way to work together.
Instead of condemning someone for voting differently to you, perhaps you could start a conversation. Perhaps you could ask with real interest...what was the reason behind your choice? What are the issues that concern you most? What do you believe that person/party stands for? It seems to me it's time to be having more conversations about things and realising that we need people to work together to manage our country and our welfare in the context of the whole world economy and natural environment, because one thing does not exist without another; all are linked. The small choices we make in day to day life affect others across the world, whether we choose to acknowledge that or not. We don't need winners and losers; we need people who care about all people. What if people were voted into government because of their personal qualities, skills and strengths to negotiate and work for all people...not just 'their' voters. I wonder how it could work if there were no parties, but just people who would put their hands up and say yes, I'd be willing to work with others to make the world a fairer and more equitable place for all.
In a sense it's like religion, it's like ethnicity, it's like any other collection of humanity where there is diversity. If we look we can find common ground to meet on. Anger has a place only in seeing people or other beings mis-treated and then let the anger motivate action towards remedy.
If you think I'm an unrealistic fool then that's ok. I'd rather be an unrealistic fool than to add more fuel to fires that divide us humans to fight against one another. Listen to one another's concerns. You might find some merit in another point of view and be able to influence your chosen 'party' to move closer to a balanced management instead of one skewed in one direction or another. Reality is that we are all different and have different likes, dislikes and priorities. Have you ever sat down and wondered what your core values are? What are the things that really matter to you? I've included a couple of links here so that you might take a look and reflect on what does really matter to you in life and living. I hope you will. I hope you'll find that it's not all about winning and losing, but about people, relationships, and shared responsibility.
The government we have today is one we've voted for together. No vote is wasted as long as you used it to say what you wanted to say. All you have to do is make sure you know what you want to say first. If it turns out too late for you for this time, there's always next time. Let's all try to work together to create a better world. We have to start small...with ourselves.
PS Whoever you voted for, remember that it is your right to petition government to address need where you see it. I admit that I've not done much in the way of writing to government in recent years. In writing this for you today, I'm reminded that my responsibility doesn't end with that pencil mark on voting day. It's so easy to pen a few lines and post them off to bring attention to problems that need to be seen and addressed. In these days of online petitions, I wonder if the power of the pen is still in the handwritten letter delivered by snail mail. Politicians know this takes a little more effort and just maybe they ought to take notice. I remember hearing once that one letter written represents 1000 people who feel the same way. Letters are important and powerful. I might just make it a personal priority to put pen to paper more often. Join with me and choose something that touches your heart and decide to do what you can to make a difference. We're all in this together.