Although the most effective methods to enact compassion, equality and fairness are often difficult to ascertain, the aspiration to pursue such ends remains an essential underpinning of a decent society. Throughout its term in office, the Howard Government has insinuated, through regressive taxation, middle-class welfare and avoidance of incontrovertible realities, that we can live without the aforementioned aspirations and no one would know the difference.
It has forcefully suggested that we can strand innocent people on prison islands, be complicit in brutal foreign wars, ignore the privations of sections of the global community, degrade the environment and redistribute domestic wealth upwards and remain unaffected.
In a subversion of convention it has encouraged Australians to be less than we could be. Surely there exists no better definition of corrupted leadership. -- Greg Bourke, letter to The Age.
Tomorrow is the day Australia will either commit moral suicide or begin a slow -- perhaps a very slow -- return to compassionate democracy. Will we return to an inclusive society or remain trapped in the feral doctrine of user pays?
Coalition voters constitute the Australian equivalent of Nazi collaborators, people who actually approve of dishonest leadership, corrupt governance, and intolerance of difference. Short of outright stupidity, anyone voting for the John Howard Party after all these years of political evil cannot possibly deny that they support dishonesty, corruption and intolerance.
For the past eleven and a half years the rest of us have found ourselves in despair, anger and hatred over the disrepute John Howard has brought upon Australia. Granted, we have remained free to move about and speak our minds, but in many other ways we can understand those who have endured life under despotic governments. Perhaps the main difference is that John Howard has been a mercifully small-minded man when it comes to the vision tyrannical. No grandiose plans to take over the world or murder minorities. No, Little Johnny has been content to simply be mean to those he deems unworthy.
And therein lies the greatest embarrassment for this country. Instead of supporting a genuinely terrifying maniac, worthy of countless learned tomes and History Channel documentaries, Australians have opted for a mealy-mouthed suburban solicitor to do the dirty on humanity.
This has been a moral dark ages gilded by prosperity. The Biblical analogue is Dathan and the Golden Calf. Dathan exhorted the Australians of yesteryear to forget poor, misguided Moses, and worship instead: filthy lucre. John Howard is Australia's Dathan. His shame will last for generations.
PS: If you missed it, go here and choose a media player for John Clarke and Brian Dawe on the politics of fear. Clarke removes John Howard's mask of respectability to show us how hilarious (or pathetic) he looks as a dogwhistling B-movie bogeyman.