Mathew Mackie

Mally let down: An open apology from a Turnbull voter

Malcolm Turnbull’s capitulation has done great damage. But as someone who voted him in on the presumption that he was the man who could do both, I’m sorry.

 

 

All I seem to be writing lately is obituaries. But this cut bleeds deepest, because I feel partially responsible, as if I pushed the blade into their hand.

There’s an odd kind of ownership supporting a failing pollie. You take on their failings as your own. I voted for Malcolm Turnbull, don’t ask me why, I don’t remember. I suppose I, like many, was misled by the sales pitch. I guess I’m a sucker for a sob story with the promise of upward mobility. I could blame me, and please do, but there’s many of us to blame. A mass of singular heads scratched in confusion, quietly digesting our feet.

However, I’ll whitewash over the differences between expectations and reality because it’s done to death. But there’s something else at play. Those Malcolm left behind, those who populate the ideological orphanage built by Mal’s shenanigans, those who have been forced to the back of the gruel line. I know I’ve avoided discussions about politics, or flat out lied who I voted for. Even through work I’ve been fortunate enough to have a buffer, as this is a one-way conversation. Like share and subscribe etc, but the creeping vine of neg vibe has roped its way around my heart, and I must scream: It’s not my fault. I didn’t know.

 

He’s Auspol’s Darth Vader, he’s force choked the hope out of the electorate, blown up galaxies of reform in his singular pursuit of the death star plans of uniform coalition support; but despite the fact that he’s more political machine than man, surely there’s still good in him somewhere, I’ve seen it.

 

The day after the night before, Mal fronted the media after his appalling capitulation on marriage equality. He mumbled through his platitudes in a kind of wobbling brutality. It was a hard thing to see, like a celebrity emerging on the wrong side of a cancer diagnosis, barely recognisable to the dashing figure that planted himself in our hearts and minds. It was ugly. He looked confused and out of ideas. He tried to convince us that he could still dance, and everything was cool. It wasn’t.

Yesterday felt different. We’ve been used to the disappointment, but it felt like something truly important is truly broken, as if the cataclysmic straw of cliche lore finally found its way to its resting place on the collective spine. The aforementioned press conference was systemic of the problem. While the entirety of the country was waiting for an adequate please explain, Mal was working his way through an inside joke with an unknown journalist, bringing back the good time recollections. I identify the behaviour. I’ve done it. He’s the philandering spouse in the relationship who has finally reached the dusty base of the trust reservoir. We no longer believe anything he says, so he’s emotionally manipulating us to remember the times when times were better.

 

 

I’m not even sure that he believes the words that cascaded over his bottom lip, and I know that politicians spout sanitised lies and whatever, but the great ability of Malcolm was that he believed the lies, or made you believe that he believed. The hands of violence that controlled proceedings at that closed door Liberal donnybrook seems to have hurled the harpoon that finally pierced the heart of the great white hope. Not in our perception of him, but seemingly the perception of himself. I still don’t believe that the social reformer Malcolm was just a pair of winplepickers he polished to get his foot in the door; I believe that there’s still some good in him. He’s Auspol’s Darth Vader, he’s force choked the hope out of the electorate, blown up galaxies of reform in his singular pursuit of the death star plans of uniform coalition support; but despite the fact that he’s more political machine than man, surely there’s still good in him somewhere, I’ve seen it. But it’s far too late for change. The checks and balances have sent him broke, as too often he’s stepped to the dark side and walked against the crowd.

He’s a tragic figure, but he’s a victim of his own hubris, so we can’t really pity him; those who can blame ourselves should do so, for the act of shouldering blasters because we believed what we were told. A lie became truth. This new death star will represent an innovative new direction for the empire.

While the news this morning might be the victory the left won banishing the climate doubting ghoul back to the nether realm, punished by a staid legal condition that is suddenly vogue, it behooves us to not take our mind off the real issue. With the political death of Malcolm, he’ll take something important to the grave – the idea of the political moderate. The idealistic personification of that meme that commands us to get a man who can do both. As we’ve been so viscerally let down, I fear we’ll not allow ourselves to be hurt again, so we’ll play it safe, and let extremists from both sides do the talking for us.

And for that, I’m sorry.

 

 

 

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