• Ned Manning

Is it me or is it we? (Or, why we should give a shit)

Ok. The moment every Conservative in this country has been dreaming of seems to be, inevitably, upon us.

So. What does this say about us?

Neither leader has really captured our imagination. Neither is really Liked. Both struggle to be even "well liked", as Willy Loman might have said. 

Many of us agree that the two major Parties have outdone each other in a race to the bottom. Not a lot to be proud of there.

It's tempting to blame Murdoch, the trivialisation of politics by our "journalists", shock jocks and so on.

It's even more tempting to say that Labor is getting what is deserves. 

What I'm wrestling with is why I feel so deeply sad about this.

Hell, I lived through the 22 years of Liberal Government. I yelled "Shame Fraser Shame". I was there to be shattered by Howard's acsension. I follow the Balmain Tigers. I know what it's like to have your hopes well...Tigers fans know what I mean.

There is something different going on here. Something deeper. Something more visceral. Something more tragic.

I'm stiil clinging to the wreckage, hoping against hope that Labor will somehow, miraculously, get up.


Why do I believe in the Australian Labor Party when anyone with a modicum of sense would have walked out on them the moment Beazley squibbed it over Tampa?

I tell you why.

It's because I believe in We. I'm a team player in the truest sense of the word. I love being part of a community. Of being responsible for my fellow human beings. Of thinking about others. Of doing what I can to make things a little better for someone else. 

I love the way we look out for each other. I love it when we forget about our own self interest and consider only what's best for us as...yes...a collective. I love concerts when we rise as one and celebrate being part of something bigger than ourselves. 

I love being part of We.

I don't give a shit about Me.

Our history is replete with stories about We. About our egalitarian spirit, about our sacrifice for a greater cause, about our responsibilty to our community. It's the history we love to celebrate. It's when we, at our best, have really shone.

We've never really taken to the Me's.

Until now.

Which brings us to this election.

This election isn't about We. It is about Me.

When a candidate for the Liberal Part can reduce the plight of refugees fleeing the Taliban ( who we happen to be fighting) to an argument about those refugees "clogging up the M4" we have to be seriously worried. Quite apart from the staggering immorality of the comment, it is the perfect metaphor for what this election is about.


I am sitting in my car on the M4, listening to some parody of a town crier scream over the radio and I allow myself to imagine that my condition, being late to work, is worse than someone clinging to a dodgy boat in the middle of the ocean who has witnessed their family being massacred by zealots. 

Because it is about Me.

It's all about Me.

I couldn't give a shit about We.

I've abandoned the egalitarian spririt. The fundamental notion of mateship. The idea that we were in it for each other.

That is what this election has reduced us to.

A nation who's only interest lies is in the mirror. 

I fear for our future when we are obsessed with Me and have lost our fundamental concern for We. 

As a nation we are about to elect a government whose only concern is Me.

What happens to We?


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© 2020 by Ned Manning.