The ‘make a difference’ vacuum

A few days into the Federal Election campaign and all the Australian citizenry has been offered are poorly developed slogans and a series of disconnected policy announcements designed solely to unbalance the opponent. It’s been nothing more than scrappy fighting over a very small patch of turf. How dismal! How utterly depressing!

We are being asked to choose political leaders but I’m not seeing any leadership on offer, at least not from the two major parties. I feel like I’m being given a choice between two politicians who are doing nothing more than playing politics with each other. I am a political junkie but this is not the politics I enjoy.

I have spoken to enough politicians, of all persuasions, that I can confidently say that nearly all of them go into politics to make a difference. And sometimes, even in past election campaigns, we get to hear about those visions or at least catch glimpses of them. But right now, it is a ‘make a difference’ vacuum.

So far in this campaign we haven’t heard anything approaching a long-term vision for our country. We haven’t heard any policy announcements that reflect any kind of moral commitment! The Government has dumped their moral commitment to urgently addressing climate change and the Opposition has dumped their moral commitment to a deregulated labour market (possibly, but who would know).

If Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard have a vision for the future of our country (and I find it hard to believe that they don’t) they are not telling anyone. Their visions have been abandoned in the quest for votes. Maybe they will pick up some votes with this approach but for what? What will they work towards in government? What will inspire and motivate them? In opposition, what alternative will they have to offer? How will they distinguish themselves?

And what about us? Well we are left with vacuous, lowest common denominator, short-term political point-scoring that means nothing, counts for nothing and contributes nothing meaningful to our lives as individuals or as a society.

How on earth did we get here? Oh… wait… yes… large scale, long-term political apathy and disengagement on the part of citizens coupled with a deeply ingrained individualistic, materialistic culture breeding gross self-interest.