I wonder what it would really be like if Labor won the next election. I seem to recall the Hawkeating government was a little frustrating at times but overall I see it all with a rosy glow. For the first few years of Howard it was almost invigorating, he was so wrong. Now he's been in power for so long there is no particular angsty glee to be had from his wrong, wrong, wrongness. His face still reminds me of the toothless one of those two grumpy old men who provided commentary on The Muppet Show, and his voice - particularly his accent - sounds like a colossal put-on to me. I am sure as soon as he leaves office, if he doesn't do it feet-first which seems increasingly likely, he will revert to talking plummy like he used to. It is quite extraordinary to me that this man who has ruled the country for a quarter of my life seems (am I imagining this?) diametrically opposed to me on almost everything. It reminds me a bit of a young man I was sat next to at a conference dinner in New Zealand; absolutely everything that interested him, or that he believed in (a lot of stuff about immigration etc, and he worked in an abbatoir) was so much the exact opposite of what I know to be right, I started to get paranoid - obviously I've smoked too much pot (in 1996, which was about the last time I smoked pot, and I stopped because it made me paranoid - my present state being proof of this). I started to think, 'this guy's a plant'. With Howard it's much worse, as I have to accept that a significant proportion of the people I see in the street actually voted for him. It's an indictment on me, I suppose, that I simply cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would do such a bizarre thing; I would put it on par with... um... all those other things I'll never understand, like people who abseil or people who practice witchcraft, except in most cases those things don't impact on others negatively. Maybe I'd put people who voted for Howard on a level with people who practice witchcraft and human sacrifice.
Obviously this is why me and politics don't go together. My views are extremist and naive, and I cannot really see room for compromise. I suppose part of this comes from the fact that I see incredibly basic flaws in the way human civillisation is organised, things that will surely never change, I am thinking particularly of the meat industry, or meat eating per se, but I am sure there are many other aspects. (Having said that I don't particularly condemn most of my friends for being carnivores any more than I would condemn them for abseiling. But that's part of it - I see no benefit to irritating people who won't change their ways because I want them to, and for that matter I allow for a 1% possibility that I may be wrong, a 1% that, though small, tugs at my elbow anytime I make the mistake of trying to analyse these things). I have numerous other quirky opinions about what would make the world a better place, and these are all distinguished only by the fact that they will never happen not only my lifetime, but anyone's, ever. This might be just how people come to be in their 40s. I suppose I felt roughly the same way twenty years ago but then I did not feel entirely enfranchised or empowered by dint of my age and inexperience. Now I just realise I am massively out of step with, let's say 90% of the population of earth. That still leaves an extraordinarily huge 10%, but actually the figure is probably under 1%, so I don't know why I generously gave myself ten.
On balance, I have no real idea what most or many people around the world are likely to think. And come to think of it I suppose my ignorance of other cultures and my belief in the value of local culture in part because whatever it is, it's local, puts me on a level of empathy with John Howard. That makes me feel a lot better.