Our Editor-in-Chief lived a life completely devoid of political thought – until one night in September when a broken table changed everything.
I know a lot of people still talk about you, The Abbott Government, and I know a lot of people still blame you for who you were. But while they may eventually move on to blaming someone else, know that I will not; because you took something from me. You were my first. You claimed my political virginity, and roughly throttled my naïveté.
And yes, I let you, but that doesn’t make it right.
Before you, I assumed that if the country wasn’t under attack, on fire or in revolt, those in top job were doing a top job. I saw the detractors as petty naysayers, etching a hollow existence on the tree of life. But I was so wrong. My innocence was a beautiful frame you broke to put your own stupid picture in.
I was happy, Politics. You were happy. Why couldn’t you let us be? Why did you invite me in that night you got drunk and broke that table? The morning after, I saw a new side to you, and that made you cool. When you showed me your figures or took me to meet the press, or when you came home from work early to entice me in the lounge room for an hour in the afternoon, my pulse raced. I let you, because you were different. You had the attraction of the unknown, before I figured out you were full of shit.
Politics, you have destroyed my mind and flamed who I used to be. I had nothing important to say, and for that, I was loved. When my friends speak of you now, I literally have to gag myself from inserting my change into the transaction.
They’re sick of hearing me talk about you.
Why do you have to move so fast? And why do you just take, and take, and take?
You keep asking me to accept new things when I’m barely comfortable with the basics: Leadership spills, revenge leadership spills, dangled plebiscites, hung parliaments, crossed floors, Peter Dutton, endorsements, electoral colleges, super-weekdays, super-delegates, double-dissolutions, three-word-solutions. Helicopter rides, no; jet Rides, yes. One Bishop off the board, another moves closer to the King. Manus, Nauru, Christmas; ISIS, IS, ISIL, ALP, LPA, PUP.
I wasn’t ready, if I’m honest. I should have stayed with my ex: History. She could be boring, but I knew where I stood. Her wants and her actions were clear. She couldn’t change who she was but that was okay.
I wasn’t ready to be whirled around in the bullshit shifting maelstrom of your arms, Politics. I wasn’t ready for all the bed hopping, the lying and the constant changing of shirts. How is the guy that I thought was bad, actually not so bad? How is it that the guy that I thought was good, because he replaced the bad you, might actually now be you, and now bad? Am I dating him or you? OMFG. I don’t even know who you are anymore. It’s like I’m skittishly waving myself between two identical people, screaming, “Which one’s the real Tony!?”
For my first time, it’s been particularly rough.
Is this normal? Or are you taking advantage of me? Has your behaviour been particularly terrible, or have you always been like this? Can anyone help me out? Guys, is this normal? A self-made billionaire pseudo-fascist versus a self-made billionaire socialist, propped up by a supporting cast of cardboard cut-outs hurling schoolyard abuse? Is that what Politics is? Is this the psychical act of Democracy? Is this what that little four-letter word is all about?
What has all this gained me, Politics? All those endless evenings up with you, I could have pursued something meaningful instead of just sitting there, endlessly refreshing windows while you smugly spat the same platitudes at me and pretended like it meant something.
Oh. And last week. When you just casually mentioned that you are having doubts, and now I have to prove that I would choose you!? What the fuck, Politics? Are we going to go through this every four years?
There’s something growing in me I can’t stop, and you know what, Politics? – it’s yours.
Untitled Political Book on the Australian Political Landscape June ’15-Present arriving in December.