Tuesday, June 29, 2010
It should be obvious to most by now that I do not like politicians. With very few exceptions, I find them to be lying, self-serving, fundamentally dishonest, manipulative, untrustworthy, contemptible little people, obsessed and consumed by the game of 'power'. (It is a sad but accurate truism, in my experience, that the people who most desire the power to rule are among those least fit to do so -- and anyone with the sense and integrity to potentially rule well also has the sense to stay the hell away from the job.)
Nevertheless, sometimes one of 'em will say or do something which hints at, perhaps, a touch of truth, or possibly even a degree of honesty. And since hope springs eternal and I believe in positive reinforcement, I will usually make the effort to acknowledge such things.
Our shiny new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has already disappointed me by not taking Stephen Conroy and making him Minister for Licking Public Toilet Floors in Kings Cross - a job for which he may not actually be qualified, I admit, but which he certainly deserves. I understand the Ms Gillard has a delicate line to walk for the moment. She's in power as a result of a nasty little coup, and no matter how much Kruddy-boy earned his newfound political obscurity (and he most certainly did earn it, yes) there will no doubt be people who look askance at her for taking power at his expense. Some of those people have to be placated. Conroy is part of the price.
I know this. But I remain disappointed, because Conroy is a poisonously stupid human being, whose ridiculously 19th century outlook bids fair to completely cripple our chance at 21st century communications and democracy. Still, there's an election coming up. Perhaps we can convince Conroy's constituents to wake up and smell the effluent.
In the meantime, I am honour-bound to acknowledge that today, Julia Gillard managed to earn a small degree of respect from me. Questioned by the media regarding her religious affiliations, she very clearly explained that she does not believe in a God.
Unmarried but living with a long-time partner, first female Prime Minister - she's already on tenuous territory, in theory. And now, here she is outing herself as an atheist. Yes, fine, she's claimed the moral high ground by professing her tolerance for the faith and beliefs of others -- but it doesn't change the fact that she has quietly but firmly broken away from an image and an idea that few world leaders can escape. (Gough Whitlam did say he wasn't Christian, of course. But he said he was a 'fellow traveller', whatever the hell that means.)
It could be argued that if she'd claimed to be Christian, she would have been found out. But these days, what difference would that make? All she'd have to do would be to claim the others were lying to 'smear her and her faith'. In fact, it would have been easy to turn it around and make faith an issue, what with Tony Dicktogs being something of a notorious fanatic.
She didn't do that. She just asserted her personal stance, and left it at that.
That's not going to earn her a lot of friends in the Jebus camp. But hopefully, the smarter ones will recognise her statement of truth for what it is. And the dumb-ass ones were probably all going to vote Conservative anyhow.
As for me -- well. I haven't changed my mind about politicians in general. I've known too many. And Julia Gillard is still a politician. But as of today, at least, I will give her credit for more courage and integrity than most of the politicians out there. That doesn't make her a decent human being yet, no. But it brings her closer than anyone we've had in government for a very long time.