The return of the Right has been derided, and aided, by a vicious Left. But when I consider the conditions that fuelled our ascension, even I’m uninspired to celebrate.
Earlier this week as I was driving the Libmobile to Green-girl’s place of work, which is an amnesty centre for orphaned bicycles (its not), the familiar voice of our ex-PM Tony Abbott broke over the wireless. In his familiar, commanding timbre he outlined how the election of President Donald Trump was “entirely legitimate”, pointing out that it echoed the sentiment of the times, and that for too long the Right had been wrongly labelled as a pack of ‘phobes; the rise of Trump was a reaction to those on the Left.
As hard as this may be for 50% of you to hear, Tony Abbott was right.
The reason for all the superhero anonymity tosh (and the expensively assembled lab under Mt Hotham) highlights the problem in this country. A problem with the “other”. Rather, a problem with being able to see those we oppose as people, instead of the lazy definitions we plant upon them.
The rise of Trump was many things, but in this country it was a fart in an elevator dispersing two opposing views to the far sides of their shared space seeking safety.
— The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) November 16, 2016
But here’s the thing: if we stay on our side, the people who disagree with us become caricatures, just as we do to them; our artistic licences expanding with the size of each side’s complaint (i.e., every uni student was a Communist in the 1960’s and everyone in a suit is a corporate shill).
For example, not every Right-winger wants to swim in a vault of coins à la Scrooge McDuck whilst commanding a sub to torpedo a boat of asylum seekers, adding a score system to reward ourselves over the growing body count. Boom! Mother and child? Two points!
Conversely, I know that not every Leftie wants to vigorously mount the system, nor do they all claim 9/11 was an inside job as they roll a “fatty” in opposition to their government whilst using said government’s money to pay for said “fatties”. Get it, maaaan? Rick and Morty, lad!
Spoiler alert: both sides of the political party dislike those in the furthest of their corners in that elevator, but in the eye of the public they are our ambassadors.
Both of the above are extremely offensive yet sadly, not far off accepted stereotype.
To test this, I recently trawled through a series of comment box sections, which had the sensation of taking a hammer to one’s testicle, but it taught me something: to many, the voice of opposition is akin to an invasion of territory; arms are drawn and bugle is blared. I was over on a print-media publication reading an article which addressed the Bill Leak issue, where 99% of commentators supported Leak’s cartoon and the pointlessness of 18C, except for one commenter who claimed, “They were right to take it to the HRC, it’s racist”.
What followed was the modern day equivalent of a mob screaming with the fury of pilgrims suspicious of witchcraft. The interloper wasn’t burnt at the stake, but he was crushed to death by downward pointing thumbs and liberal use of “the f-word”.
Next stop was the Facebook page of a Leftist radio station (you know the one; the one with many consonants), where they announced that Peter Dutton would be giving an interview and asked that the audience submit any questions they had for him. It went about as well as you’d assume, with the top rated scorn going the way of “How do you sleep at night? Do the screams of the people you locked up at Manus echo in your head?”, to the more trite “Who’s a bigger influence: Trump, Hitler or Voldemort?”, which is a bit hard on Trump; he didn’t kill Lily and James Potter and he sure as shit didn’t march into Poland. But back to the attacks on Dutton: how is that going to persuade the minister who actually possesses the power to bring the change you seek?
“Dear Hitler. Change the law you beetle”.
That wouldn’t work even if you sent the letter to Adolf.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Anti-Trump Left demonstrate extremist Right behaviour post-election
- The Masked Lib: Pauline Hanson and the comeback the Left enabled
- The rise of the Right should bring debate, not ire
The problem is that assuming everyone is an extremist turns people into extremists. If all you ever heard was that your vote contributed to the soulless killing of people on a PNG island, and if your rebuttal was deemed surplus by the fact that you were soullessly killing people…would that make you feel inclined to talk to the people who levelled the charges at you, or would you side yourself with people who don’t accuse you of mass murder? I suppose it is your responsibility if you voted for the party that enacts these things. But the only people who vote for a party on a solitary issue are extremists. Be it fishing regulation or bicyclist rights. I voted for the Coalition, but I disagree with the way Manus was handled.
But, that doesn’t mean it was enough to ignore the other policies that I did agree with.
Spoiler alert: both sides of the political party dislike those in the furthest of their corners in that elevator. They do not truly represent us, but in the eye of the public they are our ambassadors. That representation is the issue. And explaining it away proves pointless with these hi-jackers just waiting for their turn to speak. Evidence of this is found in the fact that the greatest piece of writing I ever read from a Trump voter was actually written by someone who voted for Hillary.
I completely expect this piece to be ignored, as it doesn’t conform to blaming the other side or railing against those in charge. It has no middle finger to point. But the lack of attention it will surely glean is absolutely the point. The middle plane of political discourse is a rotting metropolis with the buildings yellowing and the windows boarded up.
To close, I’d like to put forward a quote from Wu-Tang/hiking aficionado, Martin Shkreli:
If you are racist or anti-semitic I want to have nothing to do with you. I am a conservative Republican but I’m not a backwards neanderthal.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) November 16, 2016
Masked Lib, out.