I have been a political junkie for as long as I can remember. I was eight when Bob Hawke was first elected, and I remember that election night being glued to the screen and excited to find out that he had won. In the years he was in office, he was considered a centrist. He was a loyal Union man, loved his cricket, golf, and a good cigar and got us Medicare. In 1984, he also deregulated Australia's currency so that global financial markets, not the Reserve Bank, would determine its value. He also helped privatise the state-owned banking sector and reduced tariffs.
On his passing, just before Australia's federal election in 2019, he was being honoured not only by Labour movement figures but also by business leaders – a sign of the wide respect he had across the political spectrum. He was tough when he needed to be, but you also didn't need to dig that deep to see him connect to his humanity.
When I hear people describe the current leader of the United States of America as a guy who ‘says the things we are all thinking’ it doesn't make me think better of Trump, it makes me think worse of the person who is speaking. Do you want to be able to be able to call women fat pigs and dogs and imply in a national press conference that she isn’t attractive enough to rape? Do you want to be able to tell citizens of your own country (who happen not to be white), to go back to where they came from? Do you want to be able to belittle the sacrifice of men and woman who have served their country by calling them losers and attacking their families?
None of these things makes you a good person. If you were at a BBQ at my house and said these things aloud, you wouldn’t have time to get the sauce on your sausage sandwich before I asked you to leave. I would never let things like that be said in front of the kid because I don’t want her to think that is acceptable. So why the hell would we put up with it from someone meant to be leading the free world.
Science is not political; it's factual. Prejudice, misogyny, and racism are not a political viewpoint; they are disgusting. Until we can come together on those fundamental points of human decency, I will continue to do everything to advance us to the point where we do. My mum always taught me to vote not for the position I’m in now but keeping in mind if the government I’m choosing to give my vote to would care for people on their worst day.
If they are sick or homeless; if they came to us looking for safety and a better life. Speak up for the politicians who do the right thing. We should all speak out against people who do things that would make you kick them out of a BBQ. It shouldn’t matter if they share your political ideology. Wrong is wrong.
We are at a precipice. Not just the people we laugh at in the states, but all over the world. Nationalistic governments who galvanize their supporters through fear and hate have sprung up everywhere, and it is up to us to speak out against them. Progress is winning the war, but it is up to us to fight each battle.