They said that they didn’t want to start a class war.
Bullshit. It's on already.
I’m watching as a class war starts over social media, at work, at the gym, at alienating friends, breaking down long to relationships and bringing a feeling of dis-ease to many?
All over the current state of play in Australian Politics.
The divisions are starting to show. Where until recently, people of different political bents lived next to each other \with relative ease, the cracks are beginning to appear. It’s starting to feel a bit like a Shakespearean tragedy with all the biffs and subterfuge. Stock characters that are starting to wage wars against each other.
So we have our dramatis personae of the Australian political landscape – and please note these are caricatures in all of this – not real people, but a melding of characters and features. They’re certainly not a one–size fits all.
I'm going to refer to our characters as local drinks:
Caffe Latte – The left wing, pseudo-socialist, newish Mazda in the street near her rented flat. Professional worker, Cafe Latte will write letters to their MP on a regular basis. Sometimes seen at demonstrations.
Spirulina – Militant left wing Greenie, rides a bike, thinking about going vegan, works at an NGO and does some charity work at the local homeless shelter.
Pinot – A moderate right winger, semi-affluent Honda sports wagon driver, struggling to put the kids through one of the middle rung private schools. Works as an accountant and their partner is in IT.
Kristal – The Neo-Conservative douchbag, far right wing ideologue, in the upscale Mercedes Sedan, living in a mansion, children at elite schools (though they've quietly changed after a minor drug misdemeanor)
XXXX beer – Ex military mine worker in the Far North in a beat up landcruiser who doesn't have a clue what they might do if the mines close. Owns a "Go back where you came from" t-shirt.
PreMix Jack and Cola – Factory worker in the outer suburbs drives a barely street legal Magna who's hoping to win lotto so that they can fix the air conditioning. Partner, a nurse, is struggling to find contracts as foreign workers are coming in on 457 visas undercutting the rates.
Fruity Lexia - University students, borrows Mum’s car, wanting to get ahead studies and works two jobs to help pay off the fee debt before they die.
Tap Water – Those that don’t give a stuff about politics – and they could drive anything. They can live anywhere and they can have any job. They just don't give a shit.
So that's a rough estimation of the main players - but there are many more to add to this. The Kombucha - (the Social Democrat and member of rent-a-crowd), the White Tea (Grandma) and Metholated Spirits (National Front/KKK member)
You can find a family of Spirulina drinkers with a tap water drinker in the mix. There's the XXXX drinkers who marry a Latte drinker. Many of us will start out as Fruity Lexia drinkers until our tastes change when we grow up and leave uni.
Also, you might have your hands on a few drinks. Me, I'm a Latte drinker with a bit of spirulina on the side, who may be going back to Fruity Lexia in the near future.
I've worked with a couple of tap water drinkers an I want to kill them for their apathetic ways. The only people I have difficulty with are those who don't care.
So what happens when your friends don't belong to the same group as you, or groups that you align to a little more easily. What happens when long standing friends have polar opposite views to you?
I have two points of reference for this.
My friend Kitt is a member of the Liberal Party. Kitt is what she calls a small "L" liberal. She's Pinot to my Latte.
We get on fine. She smirks at me tripping off to the odd demonstration, I baulk at her being thrilled at meeting John Howard. We agree to disagree on a few things, respecting the differing points of view. She says, "But it has to be paid for", quite a bit, my come back is "Surely there's a better way to do things."
Kitt and I know that we've both thought about a lot of stuff well and hard and though we don't agree on stuff, that's okay. I also know that Kitt has a social conscience and is working to lessen the reign of the far right in the Liberals.
The other friend I come into contest with is and old work colleague. He's rather right wing - say Pinot with a bit of grunt. He gets on his high horse about a few things, I end up nearly screaming at him. Then we stop discussing politics because after a while it's not going anywhere.
The friendship is too important.
Something I'm finding out more and more - politics and friendships are a very tricky road to walk. You're going to find people you agree with. You're going to find people who disagree with you.
And there are people that you're going to want to club like a baby seal.
You're also going to find the current cabinet with their backwards views, devise ways, misogyny, callousness and corruption. (I could go on but I'm hoping that the International court will come after some of these jokers and lock them up for a very long time.) Watching an Education minister that doesn't believe in universal education, an Environment Minister who wants to see the Great Barrier Reef dredged, a Heath Minister who wants to dismantle Medicare and a Treasurer who wants to send the place into recession, you have to wonder...
As a Latte, I'm quite happy to get on my soapbox about their what I see as completely offensive ways, their lying and their complete disregard for about 90% if the Australian population. Kitt , as a Pinot, is less fussed.
You also hear, "I've voted for X. I've always voted for X and I always will vote for X." A little aggravating, yes, but it could be that you have a great local member - such as Tony Windsor, Sharman Stone, Anthony Albanese or Adam Bandt. You want to vote for the member. It could also be that they believe in the party. It doesn't mean they're being apathetic - they've looked at the policies, they remain true to their party. It happens
This is a time where we have to start banding together and start some respectful dialogue over what's going on around here. No more name calling, stone throwing or disrespecting.
We have Bronwyn Bishop, our speaker to adjudicate of the House of Representatives and the LNPs ludicrous behaviour, such as Christopher Pyne dropping the c-bomb in public - without reprimand.
. (Don't get me started on that one, the biased witch - she should step down now)
What I'm saying is that we're all going to have to start treading a little carefully. Know when you're safe to talk, know when to keep your month shut. Most importantly, you have to know it's right to agree to disagree and walk away before the friendship is damaged.