Self-proclaimed leftie Sadie O’Grady says “#hashtag #smashtag” following Twitter’s post-Sydney siege response to MP George Christensen, even though she doesn’t agree with “Georgie’s” methods.
The recent musings on Twitter by MP for Dawson, George Christensen, have left my lunatic lefty newsfeed feeling sick.
Not just because I found Georgie’s comments to be insensitive, but because I have to see him slandered. George Christensen is my cousin…you know, the cousin that lives in Mackay, Queensland. The one you grew up seeing at your Nanna’s place every school holidays. The little boy that I sprayed with the garden hose during sweltering heat and coerced into hours of cracking macadamia nuts by brick and pavement, under the tree in the backyard Brisbane suburb of Oxley; a homebase better known for spawning awesome punk legends, The Saints.
In the last two days, I have seen many articles and comments about George Christensen. “Douche Canoe”, “Arsehat” and “Fat Racist Pig” to name a few, have all come from my aligned “lefty” fringe friends posts on social media. Some of them know he is related to me. Most don’t. I have watched Georgie’s rise within politics with some truly cringeworthy moments like his attempts to “Ban the Burqa”, his assertion that Vegemite is sponsoring terrorism, his outlandish and comical sci-fi comments at a Climate Change denial conference. Cringe, Cringe, Cringe.
Yet, there was the hilarious episode of the stolen “Big Mango” from his electorate of Dawson. I laughed as he appeared on morning TV and host James Mathison said in a piratey way “I like the cut of your jib, George”. I felt proud as he made a decision to back the medical cannabis bill and how, in one session of parliament, he was able to slip in the phrase “Orwellian”. I love Dr Who as much as he does.
I often think that politics in Australia has become a farcical fandom. People blindly barracking a football team. Liberal/Nationals in their blue and Labor in their red and we could say Greens, as it is a colour and a brand but quite frankly most of us know they’ll never be “in charge of the joint”. The dualistic system of governance is too embedded. This “left” and “right” irks me. I would like to think that I have surpassed this polar opposite operating system of indoctrination and look at the world through a viewfinder that we are all global citizens on one big rotating rock in infinite space. This is especially true now, considering that both dominant parties seem really alike and generic in most of their policy making…to me anyway. I think the whole system needs to change, so I’m probably even more extreme than radical Islamists in regards to bringing down this “way of life”.
Am I a threat? No, not in a physical sense, but ideologically, yes, because I think outside of the parameters. So I guess I’m “left” if you want. I think George is “right” and correct. We do need to talk about religious fundamentalism in this country and the world. Did he say that well? No.
I do however see a pattern of fear emerging from his latest social media diatribes about Islam. I also think his assertion that the Sydney siege and a lack of dialogue surrounding extreme fundamentalism has merit. It is a pungent, ripe breeding ground for growing “Pauline Hansons” or “ADL’s”. “Whiteys” as he so eloquently put it, that buy into fear and hate. Yes we do need some dialogue regarding Islam, especially in right wing Christian governments that could use an open forum for being educated about cultural understanding. I think growing up in the canefields in QLD and attending Parliament in Canberra really leaves no room for experiencing multiculturalism. Not really. Look at the stats in the Mackay populace. When I first went there in the 90s for university, there was still a “white” pub and a “black” pub, but no one told me. I found that out after receiving some pretty odd looks in the “black” pub followed by “You’re not from round here, are you?”
Mackay is not colourful Merrylands in Western Sydney, where I have seen many changes over the last decade. It works really well in exhibiting ordinary people of many faiths and cultures going about their everyday business. It can be quite confronting for “whiteys” who have always been surrounded by other “whiteys” to understand and embrace differences….until they become more familiar with the similarities. We do not all start at the same place and I would encourage people to discuss white privilege and standpoint theory. I would also encourage people to pull their head out of their asses and stop the “White Knighting” as well; championing other people’s cultures like some kind of “Save the Whales” campaign. Hey fellow white guys! People just want you to stand beside them, not “save” them.
If we now try to pose the argument that Australia is losing its way of “culture”, please won’t someone tell me what that is? Unless you’re talking within the frameworks of Australia’s first nations people, who had their way of life changed dramatically and their culture almost stripped bare to “assimilate” into the hegemony of white Australia, then I can’t think of something that truly defines an Australian way of life. Maybe we could start manifesting one.
#illridewithyou was initially a genuine response to encourage fellow travellers on this planet to feel safe. I think the viral response to that was truly heartening for our society to stand together in solidarity over a tragedy that the mainstream media turned into a political and religiously motivated circus. It was also distasteful to me to see the #illridewithyou hashtag overshadow the coverage given to the victims of this tragedy. In an ironic twist, George’s tweet has now done the same.
George, do you remember when we were little and you started keeping lizards in a box? You were observing them, your Mum told me that you weren’t hurting them. I didn’t care. I let the lizards out right in front of you and you were heartbroken. For that I am sorry, but those little guys deserved to be able to live like lizards, not compartmentalised in a box for human entertainment and curiosity.
I would invite you to open up a discourse about how best you think we can all work together to create positive change without the football mentality of “Team Australia is the best team ever!” They are not. To the naysayers of George – those on my newsfeed, the whole of the Australian public and media commentators…be mindful and watch what you say. That’s my cousin and whilst I do NOT agree with his politic, this “lefty” loves him.