Gay Mackie

Shelton, Latham, Leyonhjelm: You’re making us look bad

I’m a right-wing voter, but the recent nonsense spouted by Latham and company has me wondering if we should hold our own accountable before we criticise the left.

 

 

I hold what you’d call conservative views. In modern Australia it is close to that other c-word. While the divide between the two sides has always been disparate, we seem to be sailing further from the middle ground of discussion.

However, I’m not writing this piece to blame the opposite, but rather as a warning against my own. Simply put, there’s a loud few that are making the rest of us look bad. We’ve had Pauline Hanson teaming up with Mark Latham, the terminator of his own employment, to robocall voters in a certain electorate. We’ve had David Leyonhjelm refuse to apologise when everyone else did, Lyle Shelton made the connection between allowing brothels and mining asbestos, and Channel Seven warned us of the tide of African Gang violence in Melbourne. This is all over the last seven days, a Bikini Atoll of explosive nonsense.

Now, the left might throw fecal matter at them, but it’s our responsibility to clean it up. That engenders bad feeling. Both toward our leaders (and how much volume they should spout), and to our critics, as that we try to explain that we’re not all like that. Regardless, neither listen, so the hideousness rolls on in a predictable circle.

Statement > Outrage > Outrage > Statement.

The concrete is quickly setting. The right is viewed as callously running roughshod over the landscape atop a bull made of coal, smoking a cigar made of the mortgage for our holiday home. It’s not who we are, but that’s the general vibe. Going off the evidence continually presented, you start to believe it. It’s a likeness that is drawn at a fun fair. It’s a cartoonish version of us, sure, but the features are familiar.

Honestly, I blame the shallow nature of modern discussion for this. Each moment is viewed as an opportunity to draw the longest of bows, and fire arrowed nonsense into the crowd, nothing more.

Last night, we discovered that all the members of the Thai soccer team were rescued, one that was met with great celebration and unbalanced castigation, as The Australian took aim at Elon Musk’s offer to help.

 

 

In the interest of fairness, the left is guilty of the same, as Junkee reported Lyle Shelton’s tweet thusly:

 

 

As an ex-journalist, both those pieces make my head spin, but as a private citizen, it sets my eyes on a perpetual roll.  The discussion oscillates between ‘shut up’ and ‘fuck off’, a level of discourse usually reserved for those who settle their differences in a Woolworths carpark. I’m not surprised that we’re devolved into that level. The examples we’re being set are extremely poor, and a lack of adult supervision solidifies the juvenile behaviour.

What we need is to hold our own accountable. I suggest that our bullshit-o-meter should work regardless of our political preferences. Not fall in the trap that I have, in defending myself, as that validates their point.

After all, we’re close to an election, and again, the ads will be tone deaf, and again the slinging of mud will begin at the highest level. Simply put, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Let’s use our heads, not lose them.

Gay Mackie

Gay Mackie is a retired print journalist, who spends her time at yoghurt (yoga), tap dancing and asleep between the hours of 2-4pm. She'd also like to make it clear that the Editor-in-Chief of The Big Smoke is her grandson.

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