Sunday: the Liberal Party ‘launched’ their election campaign and everybody watched on in complete apathy because their election campaign has been going since November 2007 and we’re sick of it already. I’m willing to bet the Labor Party’s campaign launch (scheduled for 16 August) will be just as much of a faff-filled non-event. I want to be excited – I really do – but the truth is, this whole election disgusts me. You – Australian politicians – you disgust me. I’m not enthusiastic about you. I’m not inspired. I can’t even find the energy to laugh at you. I’m just angry – ALL THE TIME.
I’m angry because the best you can offer me is another three years of conservative mediocrity and stagnation. Stagnation is not progress, it’s a fucking insult. I’m offended because you think I’m not worth the risk. I’m disgusted because you talk to me like I’m a child and it’s not okay – it’s never been okay – but you hardly make sense now anyway. This language that used to belong to us both gets bent up and mangled in your mouth: forward means backwards, liberal means conservative, atheism means indoctrination, freedom means war, love means immorality, art means conformity, sustainable means racist. I can’t say what I mean anymore without running up against your roadblocks, so I’m forced to find words that you haven’t yet stolen – snowdrop, velutinous, mellifluous, fumarole – just to remember where the ground is. Just to remember what it means to have meaning.
I’m angry because there are rats behind the wall and they are coming closer, and I’m tired from staying awake at night hoping there are enough of us to keep them at bay. Don’t call me an alarmist with that look in your eye like you think therapy and pills might make me less belligerent. Don’t call me a communist because I don’t care about money. Don’t call me a hippie because I believe in equality. Don’t use the word feminist with the vitriol dripping off that curl in your lip because you’re afraid I might be smarter than you. Don’t tell me I don’t understand like you can make what I have to say redundant by labelling me, like everyone else you failed to listen to, as though we’ll all fit neatly together in a box and you can lock the lid. Your definition is a misappropriation. Your enthusiasm was a miscommunication.
I’m angry because you tell us you care, and you don’t. I’m angry because you tell us you’ll change, and you won’t. I’m angry because I want politicians I can look up to, who don’t outsource their opinions, who don’t hide behind sports metaphors, who don’t assume I have nothing practical to say. I want politicians who embrace nuance, detail and difference, not middle-of-the-road personality pantomimes. I’m tired of promises and pussyfooting protestation – I want to hear oratory that makes my soul sing. I want to see faces lit up in earnest. I want to watch debates where people bristle and bellow and burn. I want leaders who aren’t afraid of fire. I want leaders who inspire me. Inspire me! I’m begging you! An election should be so much more than this! The country needs more than this!
My heart needs more than this.