Channel 10 on Sunday nights is running a new gay themed sit com; I’ve watched episodes 1 & 2; I’ve replayed ep2 twice, but still have trouble following the high speed anecdote collisions. BUT, more about the gay stuff in a later chapter, tho, it’s ground breaking and unmissable.
In the sitcom, the evil grandmother says to the PA of one of the gay husbands, she finds her in one of the toilets, Are you even supposed to be in here? PA replies: If I could get up right now, I’d break yr pteradactyl ass. Later, evil nana makes an equally offensive remark about president Obama.
A recent New Yorker article about President Obama soon to be re-elected for a second term describes his inauguration; it says Obama and family slept in the White House, built by black slaves. It made me wonder: does a lot of his trouble arise because many Americans simply have not come to terms with the ascendancy of an AfroAmerican. Here, PM Kevin Rudd recently issued a formal apology in federal parliament for the white treatment of indigenous peoples; it caused an extraordinary flood of tears amongst indigenous listeners. By contrast, the previous PM John Howard resorted to legalistic discussions of the implications of an apology, finally he expressed regret, but not before many indigenous people in his audience had stood up and turned their backs on him. Howard was to racism what Tony Abbott is to sexism; both exhibit insensitivity.
That is our tiny first step to reconciliation. I know the USA made similar overtures during the life of Martin Luther King jr or after his death. Perhaps many americans are simply not ready for the next step, that of full and unqualified integration, culminating in an Afro-American becoming President.
One wonders how conservatives would have reacted to Hilary Clinton becoming the first woman president; here we have not done so well in that area of things. The situation deteriorated incrementally until Prime Minister Julia Gillard thought it necessary to deliver what people have called a “BLISTERING” correction to the sexism and misogny evident among the opposition. And for the record, I have no problem with the use of the word misogny. The individual so accused clearly loves his wife and daughters; that, however is not the crux of the problem. The misogny manifests when he is CHALLENGED by a woman in public life, and defeated; defeated so obviously, that even his dim wits realise his sad limitations, his 1950’s world view, his lack of people skills, his mendacity. The last two items have been demonstrated on ABC TV interviews, one with Kerry O’Brien when he said: “only trust my words when they are written down”; in a previous interview he described himself as Mr People Skills, to the resounding ridicule of the national press club.
It’s curious how parallel our two countries have run in recent years. Both conservative parties have shown their hubris, the assumption that only they are BORN to rule, lastly their ability to profoundly disrespect the system when they are not running it. Take Romney’s folder joke, when he said he went to a woman’s group and asked for the names of women he could promote, he got folders of women. The Aussie equivalent was when conservatives were accused of not promoting women. They replied: “Labour promotes women on a quota system, we promote on talent”. The laughable conclusion is that, given the few women in power, thei population is bereft of talent.
Similarly, when Romney was secretly filmed describing 47% of the US being victims on welfare, and thus unreachable, when conservatives secretly have such disgust for a large part of the population, clearly the concept of democracy, of government for all, is foreign to them; privilege has raised them in the belief that they are intended to rule, to benefit only their own kind. In Australia we saw the Young Liberal convention at Sydney University, where Alan Jones “repeated” [it is his assertion that he only repeated the words] the comment that Julia Gillard’s dad had died recently, of shame because she was a liar. Sadly, our economically threatened media drowns its pain in shadenfreude and chases every discomfiture, for instance Julia Gillard falling when her high heels stuck in Indian turf. Her supposed lying is never challenged; the reality is that she leads a govt with a slim margin maintained by addressing the concerns of a group of independants; as a result her policy making involves daily adjustments based on pragmatism.
It is said that the conservatives feed their rich mates at the national trough when they are in power, then Labour gets elected to repair the economic damage; perhaps another anecdote should be added, that only Labour bothers to respect the structure of national governance.