Tag Archives: Voting

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #15

Sometimes I wonder what actually goes on in people’s heads! The lengths taken to hide, disguise, camouflage, cover-up, masquerade, conceal … you get the picture… literally takes my breath away. In my religious tradition we called on the sins of omission as much as the sins of commission and this is what sent me in a spin when I saw the first election campaign video of the Prime Minister. He talked about the number of lives saved, the number of jobs saved, the ambition of 16 year old students … and all I could think of was the number of lives lost, the deconstruction of the Federation while the States filled in all the gaps of the Commonwealth, the under-employment, the number of businesses that have closed, the streets lined with empty shops, students saying yes to starting their own businesses because the state has failed to provide runways to the new economy for them. I poured myself a Coopers Pale Ale beer and ate a roast lamb sandwich on home made bread and that felt like I was contributing to my local economy more than an act of nationalism! Oh dear another quotation mark has just appeared. I am begging any of you who has a vote in Australia to vote them out – if not for yourself, actually not for yourself, but for the next generation and the next and the next. This can’t go on. We are at the now or never moment as the IPCC told us, once again, this week.

I find it incredulous that there are people who  voted for a man that denies climate change, worships a God that bears no resemblance to the founder of the firm and whose default is to blame others. I have seen this close at hand before and I bet you have too. The man who pulls on a cloak to hide all kinds of sins, asking for trust now promising better times ahead; the fellow who seduces with a warm, caring perhaps even fatherly voice, and behind your back when you are out of ear shot is charming and extending his hand in friendship or something more intimate (note – be like Grace and turn away); how about the guy who actually steals from you, he steals your hopes, dreams, future, maybe even some money, and then says it was all for you? If you recognise any of these behaviours, or can touch into what it feels like? Then warn your friends, tell your family – vote them out! These behaviours are playing themselves out on the national stage and we need to make sure all crumbs lead to the ballot box.  There are ballot boxes every day for these kind of people – so vote them out of your life too!

The invisible strings that are being pulled while the campaign is being put together come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Did you notice the PM’s voice a little deeper, apparently digitally enhanced by some sound technician.  It’s time for you to pull a few invisible strings of your own and start letting people know how you are going to vote. Explain yourself and share your reasons. Invite them to do the same. Let’s build a genuine national conversation about what we want from our government.

Here is what I’m looking for in a government and therefore from my neighbours as they decide who to vote for – I am making my views very visible. This is no time for privacy – the personal is political!!                                                         

I want swift generational bold strokes to help the planet so there is a one for my grandchildren to live in. I want places to be supported to address the climate challenges they are experiencing and will experience on their terms. I want to know that refugees will be welcome and protected and those still in the twilight zone to be able to go to university, get medical support and feel sage. I want to know the oceans aren’t an afterthought in the climate justice work. I want a complete overhaul of our defence spending and it diverted to health, education and affordable housing. I want every new Mum to have all that she needs and that every child for the first 1000 days is supported to reach their potential. I want treaties and a voice to parliament. I want a Truth Commission. I want equity in investment aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. And I think that is enough to get started. I want you to know what was in my mind completely unencumbered by any low grade mask or high grade PPE. Come out and play and let’s do it! 

This is not a time to be invisible.      

PS  I am working with the Ethical Fields crew building a campaign for a Minister for Community Wealth Building. If that interests you head over to the website where there is a White Paper you can download.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Parliament House, Canberra, Nungawal Country, 2020

Year of activism #46

The thunder rolled in and with one mighty crackle sparks, the heavily pregnant clouds released and drowned my little part of the planet for less than the time it takes to bake a cake. You can’t always see the clouds colliding in the dark, but you do hear them walking up to the moment and you experience the pent up energy being set free and falling where ever it falls. The balance of refreshment to the earth and heaviness in the air arrives and a invitation that can’t be postponed, to hydrate. The elemental nature of activism is the same, there are times in movement building that the system like a weather system is going to explode and everyone is touched whether they are involved or not. The meteorological forces bring to bear what must be made visible and felt. I think this is the craft of the mobiliser in activism.

Getting out the vote in the US has been like this, all the individual efforts of people being signed onto the roll, driven to booths, postal workers delivering ballot papers from home to polling stations, volunteers offering hospitality and reporters recording accurately, live streaming technologists enabling real time viewing of counting of ballots – each in their own way making rain. And then there is the deluge and the precious drops fall on everyone, regardless of age, race, where they voted, elected, unelected and then the rain stops, the atmospherics have changed, the forecasters explain what has happened and are replaced by the next shift ready to advise on what is coming up.

The mobilisers pause for some satisfying breaths to drink in the cleansing waters and then get back to work. I have been watching the behaviour of the US President-elect who as he heads into his eighth decade is pacing himself, equipped with the wisdom of many deluges, he is patient and persistent. There seems to be a gentle confidence in the elements knowing they come and they go. This is the practice of the ancients. They know the dark clouds are full of what they have drawn upwards into themselves and when ripe can burst and deliver their load on those below. They know they don’t need to do it all, and there is a transformation when the sky and the land meet. This communion will call forth new shoots and in no time at all, new life will become visible, tiny insects will be scurrying around, beetles, bugs, bees, butterflies; trees will be waking up and the scent of herbs will fill the air. Ancients hang onto the this knowledge, they know how to coax the clouds with a dance or send smoke into the air to hasten the process. Ancients know the clouds will burst and the wait will be worth it.

Taking lessons from the ancients and storms in your activism is as good a place to look as anywhere if you are a mobiliser. Paying attention to what works, what happens next and when to look to the skies for inspiration is a guide for me often and when I lie in bed and hear the rolling thunder, the rain soaking into the ground followed by birds singing and starting to gather threads to weave their nests I know, in the words of the English 14th century mystic anchorite Julian of Norwichall shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

The trick for me is to remember that when I am in darkness, or perhaps I can’t see any clouds and to know that the invisible actions of the mobilisers are working on their part and if I am in their number I need to be working on my contribution however molecular it seems because it does indeed all add up for a mighty storm that is a-comin’ and in its wake is new life.

Photo by Valentin Müller on Unsplash