I have sat quietly during these past 5 years and picked at my already-damaged cuticles, while listening to you hold court with our mates and bemoan the state of modern politics. I haven’t spoken up. I haven’t pushed back.
I have quite literally bitten my tongue (and that bloody hurts by the way) while I watched you insult politicians who I admire and ideas I have faith in, all in the name of dinner party conversational popularity.
But I’m done with my politeness now. Because last night, you went too far.
While lazily reclining on a deck chair in Newtown, you claimed that metaphorical soapbox with your usual zeal and you were, quite simply: a bit of a dick. In a backyard full of bleeding heart lefties, you thought you’d distinguish yourself, prove you’re just that much more outrageously progressive than the rest of us.
And so you had a go at Barack.
In the spirit of a hysterical contestant on America’s Next Top Model, please imagine my finger being waved in your face right now, with my head moving sideways on top of a stationary neck: “Oh no you dinnit.”
But it wasn’t that which pushed me over the edge, it was what came next. As you took the field for a quick game of your favourite sport – trashing the Labor Party – you said that the Americans’ excuse for progressive politics was no better than Australia’s and there was nothing worth celebrating in Obama winning a second term.
You said we shouldn’t hope for a Gillard victory in Australia to follow on from Obama’s in the States because what difference would it make anyway? She’s not a real progressive you ranted. The Labor Party are a mess you cried. Things wouldn’t change that much if Tony Abbott became Prime Minister?
You said that the system was screwed, that you wanted no part of it, that you would cop an electoral commission fine on the chin and wouldn’t even vote next time around.
Yeah. That’s right.
So I’m done with staying quiet now.
My friend, when we walk into a polling booth on election day we are doing so much more than deciding who we would like our local representative to be. We are playing our part in a system that ensures a stable, democratic and peaceful Australia.
An Australia that (to quote the terribly corny but awfully catchy advertising campaign) was founded on a vote not a war. An Australia whose political system may not always produce the charismatic leaders you long for but whose parliamentary processes ensure order and good governance is maintained.
An Australia whose political system – despite facing tests in recent years that would have seen many nations descend into civil war – continues to deliver what its people need to get by every day: clean water to drink, safe roads to drive on, good schools to send their children to, hospitals that come to their aid when they’re sick…
Throughout history, millions have given their lives for the right to have a say in who governs their country; the right that you’re perfectly content to flush down the toilet next year.