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Down to the wire

confessions of a realistic pollyanna

Well it will soon be all over. Ballots will be cast Saturday for the Federal Election campaign. Normally I enjoy campaigns. Parties set out their platforms and you make your choice because of these platforms. Normally I like watching the debates, reading the columns in the newspaper, hearing what the pundits have to say, and watching the polls as they creep towards one party or another. That is in a normal political year.

But this election seems to be a bit different. Because I am not a citizen, I can't vote in this my second federal election here. I have been here long enough to know now the various political parties and understand the preferential voting system. I know who I would cast my "x" for. Since I am not able to be part of the decision, I am somewhat less interested.

Two, we seem to have been in election mode since the leadership spill last August. Ever since Malcolm Turnbull was kicked out of office, Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten have been in campaign mode. Even before that, Clive Palmer had billboards posted everywhere telling us to vote for the United Australia party. So it seems that for the past year we have been election mode and that is too long.

,Three, we just had a state election here in New South Wales. Although state politics is different than federal politics, many of the same arguments are used. So we have been bombarded by political ads since February. I am tired of hearing people argue. After three months of intense campaigning, I just want politicians to get on with the job.

Four, this campaign has been mostly about "Well we are not like the other guys." Attack ads are everywhere. You find the worst picture of your political opponent, post it with some of their shortcomings or mistakes, and voila you have an attack ad. This campaign seems to be long on vote for us because the others can't be trusted. The campaign seems to be lacking on we have a wonderful plan for the future vote for Australia.

Five, in this social media universe that we live in, news has changed and so have election campaigns. Yes social media gives a platform for various political groups to express themselves. Rather than spend money on tv ads and printing of brochures and posters, for a very few dollars, your party's platforms can reach thousands with websites, Facebook, and twitter. This is a positive and a negative. Yes it allows information to flow, but it also allows extremist groups to get their say as well. Nazis, flat earthers, and anti-vaxxers have all seen their membership grow thanks in part to Facebook and Twitter which allows them to publicly share their views almost free of charge. And some organisations like Fox News have become more opinion and ideology driven, and tend to shortchange the facts. Although it has always been there, bias seems to more and more present in our news coverage.

I am happy to live in a democracy where people get to choose the government. I am glad that citizens get to vote. If I was able, I would do my civic duty and vote. But right now I am feeling political fatigue. No matter what happens Saturday night, I am glad that the campaign will be done for a few seconds anyways. Blessings.

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