First published in Regrow Qld on 25.05.22
Folks, the last week was a bit of a political wild ride.
I felt like a kid who, finally making it through the last smoke-filled room of a nine year long, coal fired, steam powered, ghost train ride, emerges, relieved and blinking in the dazzling lights of the carnival to see their smiling parents waving at them.
Of course, like all kids, you say it wasn’t that scary, while firmly resisting any suggestions to go back on the ride again.
Anyway, on the weekend I broke cover and helped out at a local polling booth, then volunteered as a scrutineer to oversee the votes being counted.
I was joined by a couple of others who’d been handing out ‘How to Vote’ leaflets for the other side.
It was rainy and cold, and they were hungry. I had food (as my grandchildren can vouch, Grandad always has a stash of goodies handy), so I cheerfully shared my treats with the opposition team and that’s when magic happened.
Suddenly we weren’t mortal enemies, but a gathering of the few who had given up their free time to assist the democratic process. As the evening progressed, we learned we had a lot more in common with each other.
In fact, things went so well that, as the last vote was counted, one of them hinted I would be quite welcome to come to their parties after party. I politely declined, but was genuinely touched.
Clearly I’d underestimated the power of a truly delicious piece of fruit cake to heal political divides!
Flopping through my front door just after 10pm, I sat down to watch the first of the concession speeches, and after I’d jeered, “Don’t let the door hit your backside on the way out!” a few times, it dawned on me what was missing from the self-aggrandising farewells – the people who really needed to be thanked.
So here goes:
Thank You to all the nurses who shouldered an insanely heavy load during the pandemic, and continue to do so now that they’ve ‘let it rip’.
Thank You to all the low-paid nursing home staff who came under constant attack for things way beyond their control as they did their best with extremely limited resources to bring comfort to our elderly.
Thank You to all the wonderful people stocking supermarket shelves, while putting up with regular abuse from angry, frightened and desperate customers demanding toilet paper.
Thank You to all the people who selflessly gave their time, food, money or companionship to the many made unemployed, sick or homeless by the pandemic and numerous natural disasters.
Thank You to the all the people who said, ‘No More!’ to corruption, lies and cruelty to refugees, and stood for election as independents.
Thank You to the many wonderful folk, who remained cheerful, upbeat and supportive while staring down the full force of the governments’ determination to drag us back to the whale oil driven 1800’s.
A big Thank You to the people who made the booze which helped ease me through some of the darker moments of the past 10 years.
And finally, Thank You So Much to the many Australians who turned their backs on the continuous harping of fear and loathing in the media and voted for a progressive change.
I humbly take my cap off to all of you.
Folks, I don’t know what the political ride will be like over the next few years, maybe a Merry Go Round, Ferris Wheel, Rollercoaster, or a little ramble on a pony, but surely it couldn’t be as bad as the horrors experienced on the LNP’s ghost train?
Of course, a new Government doesn’t mean we can all go home (or to Hawaii!) and relax, but I’m hoping we won’t be fighting as hard on as many fronts as we have lately.
Regardless, I’ve been reassured that Australians, from both sides of the political fence, will generally step up to do the right thing when it really counts; eventually.
Just carry some extra fruit cake…