Thursday, June 24, 2010

Politics as usual

So, Australia has a new prime minister and she’s a woman, the first to hold the position ever. A lot of people are excited about this. I was on Twitter last night and it was quite something to experience vicariously the emotional ups and downs of everyone in Australia watching the events unfold on TV.

I know very little about Australian politics, mostly by choice. I read the headlines, but politics in general don't interest me, here, there, anywhere. You may recall that I crush on all things Australian with a few exceptions, politics being one of them. I remember when I lived in Sydney 20 years ago that I found Australian culture to be a bit sexist relative to what I was used to. After all that I still have a thing for Australian men. Go figure. Things have changed quite a bit since then. I don't know how much given I’ve lived in the U.S. since, but enough that they now have a woman leading their country, a milestone we've yet to achieve here in the States.

During our last election a lot of women were rooting for Hillary Clinton. They wanted women everywhere to support her because having a woman president would break the glass ceiling in the White House. In the primaries I voted Obama. Hillary, to me, seemed to be in bed with her own ambition – too cut in the politician's mold. I didn't care that she shared my gender. I wanted someone with integrity in the office and I was impressed with Obama.

There were some on Twitter last night who were comparing Gillard's win yesterday with Obama's. I thought no. Obama was elected by the people after two years of heavy campaigning. As an outsider who knows very little about overseas politics, I only see the bold print, but here is the part I can't get over. Gillard swore up and down for weeks that she would support Rudd, that she wouldn't challenge him, and then at the last minute she undercut him and won. She rode to victory on a lie.

I realize that I am missing huge chunks of information here. I realize this may just be how the game is played.  I realize that I have not had to endure years of the disappointment that was Kevin Rudd. And I realize that while everyone and their grandmother has an opinion on American politics, it's a treacherous slope if I, an American, start voicing an opinion on foreign politics, especially an obviously uneducated one.  But personally, I'd rather celebrate a woman accomplishing something with integrity. Or honestly, anyone accomplishing anything big, regardless of what sits between their legs, as long as its done with integrity.

But maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Take for instance, ProBlogger. He has a popular Australian blog. Perhaps the most popular. I’ve subscribed to his blog for a while now and am a fairly loyal reader (in that once a fortnight kind of way). But the other day he was banging on about how much he was making on his ads and the number of hits he has in a month and I got to thinking how nice that would be. To have that many hits. That’s a lot of bloody hits. So then I started thinking about my own qualifications. I have a blog.  And, let’s see, (checks pants) the right equipment. Was not born in Australia, but no matter. Getting a divorce, bonus. No a Christian, I’m on a roll!

So yeah, I’m taking over ProBlogger. And Darren, I’m sure you’ll be a little sore at first. Seeing as how you did the hard work to build the site from scratch and all. But I’ve got a really eloquent acceptance speech already written, to follow up your tearful resignation. And in the flood of emotion and beautiful words everyone will come together and embrace us both and completely forget that I kind of screwed you over.

So clearly, I don't get it.  From here it just looks like politics as usual.  With or without a vagina.

Go on, abuse me.  I know I have it coming.

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  1. Well I think it's wonderful news!!
    Also I wish the USA would stop bleating on to other countries especially Middle East about how their culture is not as 'progressive' as theirs when they rank 69th in terms of percentage of women in the lower or single house
    USA is at the same percentage level as Turkmenistan!!!!

    Maybe there is something drastically wrong with the american political system...I'm just saying!!

  2. I'm not defending the U.S. political system or suggesting our politics or culture is progressive or a model for success.

  3. It is fact of life that in Australia politics - because of the model we use - most leaders have to face challenges to their leadership position.

    In the run up to all these leadership challenges the potential challengers are asked if the will run against the leader. The potential challengers are required to deny this for political reasons (party stability, shoring up support etc).

    Sometimes a potential challenger says "I fully support the leader, she/he is doing a great job and I have no intention of challenging him/her in the future"

    This is code for "I am after the leader's job - consider him/her as dead as cat's meat"

    It is a political game.

    ProBlogger? His is not a blog it is a business. A blog is when you write stuff for fun.

  4. Clearly I have much to learn.

    By the way, I fully support your new beautiful new iMac. I have no intention of challenging your right to have a beautiful new iMac, will six gazillion files of music already downloaded. At all.

  5. I'm not familiar with pro blogger. I wish I could say I make money with my blog, but no such luck!

  6. I know diddly squat about politics is Australia, so I have nothing to add there.
    However, I am constantly searching for T-shirt slogans and I think we have a winner with, "Politics as usual, with or without a vagina"
    I like.

  7. Bang on the button Badger. And can you stop talking about vaginas - you are scaring me

  8. Am such a political fence sitter. Wish I knew more about how the system works. Here's my very rudimentary take:

    In 2007 the government was ousted, basically, because people wanted a change. We were are very stable and well respected country of economic prosperity with a large surplus. On the flip side, they weren't a very compassionate government. So I think for the sake of change a fair bit, Kevin Rudd/Labor looked like a good alternative. Now it's true, we vote for a party, not a person, but hey, we all know it's about the figure head.

    All I know is that Kevin Rudd was a bit of a bully, turned his back on Emissions Trading, implemented some very hasty stimulus and tax packages that didn't appear to be very well thought through.

    Next thing, his popularity was going down in the "polls" (I've never been asked, so am unaware who these people are that get polled) and the big money guys who have a fair say in the Labor party, shit themselves and did all the behind closed doors stuff, basically rolling Kev, knowing full well he wouldn't win at the next election, and picking up on the general consensus that Julia was a great replacement and a much better chance as the face of the Labor party

    Now, my biggest worry is that those "big money guys" are still pulling the strings. I guess a lot of people, myself included, are hoping she stands up to them and takes charge.

    Anyway, big explanation and it's just my take.


  9. @ Bern, I imagine most politics happens in back rooms. I'm just naive enough to keep forgetting it.

  10. Don't even know where to begin ..

    One thing though ... We have to change a system that does not give the supreme power of choice to the people.

    ALL politicians should be Of The People, By the People and FOR The People !

    It is a very dangerous slope that allows a elected party to place who ever they want as the head of state unapposed.

    You never know who is is the back room waiting for the opertunity ... Many a dictator walked quietly in through the back door.

  11. It's simple really - politics is a horrid, dirty, crooked business. There is on honesty, only shades thereof. You trust no-one, not even your closest ally. I could never do that sort of work. To them, it's as much about strategy as truth, hence why they call it a game. That sort of game just leaves me feeling screwed over.

    Afraid I have little sympathy for Kevin Rudd. He's let a lot of this country down. I'm pleased there's a woman in the top job, but I will have equally little sympathy for Julia Gillard should the knife turn on her. They know the game they're in. Karma is something I very much believe in.

  12. @ Glen, do you want me to use a euphemism? Girly parts, yahoo, biscuit?

  13. Yes, as Badger said. We elect a party, not a prime minister. We entrust the party we elect to choose their leader.

    Leadership challenges are part and parcel of it. It's not new. Rudd/Gillard formed their partnership when they ousted Beazley as the Labor leader. Tony Abbott was recently involved in a fairly controversial leadership challenge. It's not new. Bob Hawke was ousted as PM by his party in recent history.

    I'm certain that while Gillard always had the leadership in her sights (as any Deputy PM would), I truly believed her when she said she supported the PM. When your party comes to you and says 'We support you and want you to be our leader" (which is what essentially happened, she didn't go out looking for blood) I think anyone would listen to that. In fact, I think it's her duty to listen to that.

    Prior to the last election, top Liberal MPs said to Howard and Costello we need to change leaders. A lot of top MPs threw their weight behind Costello. Howard refused to go and Costello refused to challenge. This was a big reason why they lost the election.

    Kevin Rudd had disillusioned his MPs over the past 12 months and there were many disgruntled people. I think that it would be hard for a government to go to an election with so many of the party not liking the leader and not being able to work with him.

    This morning I don't know how I feel about it. More than anything I'm scared shitless of Tony Abbott becoming PM

  14. Go Julia - just do not let the libs win the next election. If Abbot is in charge I am moving to New Zealand.

  15. The Labor party saw all the polls going against them and started running scared. There's an election coming up, they knew Kev couldnt win it. The thing is, I'm not sure Julia can, either...
    Preliminary polls are saying that most people wouldn't vote for her either. But the other option is Tony Abbott.
    This years election will probably be a case of voting for the person you dislike the least. Sad to say.

  16. I second everything Corinne said - plus, everyone else has summed it up pretty well. We don't vote for a person, we vote for a party and they get to choose their own leader.

  17. I appreciate all the thoughtful responses and your willingness to educate me. Politics - ugh.

  18. One thing that I love about your blog, is how much I learn by reading your posts and the subsequent comments! :)

  19. I get what you're saying, Kristin. I am all for Australia having her first female PM. But not this way. No matter how you slice and dice it. JG stabbed KRudd in the back to get the coveted seat. End of story. Well to me at least.

  20. "From here it just looks like politics as usual. With or without a vagina." Yeah you're right. And about Hillary. The truth of the matter is that to get to the top, you still have to behave a certain way, no matter what 'equipment' you have.

  21. Politics drives me bonkers! I can totally see you as the next Ms. ProBlogeress!


  22. Ah, how about "Go The Independents - keep the bastards honest!"

  23. I tried to keep up when we had our elections earlier this year but it can be difficult & at times boring. It is still amazing how few women there are in these top jobs. Not comfortable with 'stab-in-the-back' politics!

    Love the new-look blog!


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