Tony Abbott is the Prime Minister of Australia. As much as we might try to deny this fact, as much as we may chafe and resent it, Abbott is the ruler of this land. He is our democratically elected leader.
The hard truth is that, while Abbott may not be the Prime Minister Australia needs, he is certainly the one that we deserve.
Because like Abbott, a frightening number of Australians are just like him. Racist, mysognist, homophobic, xenophobic, chauvinistic, myopic, selfish, bigoted and frankly, somewhat stupid.
So they made Abbott, the apotheosis of all of these traits, their chief.
Have you ever wondered why Abbott supporters seem, well, a little bit dense? When you read their comments on social media and news sites they lack a basic command of language? Why there are a plethora of spelling mistakes even though the website will boldly highlight them and these people still hit enter anyway? Why their ideas seem poorly conceived and not at all thought through to the end?
The links between social conservatism and low intellect are scientifically proven and many of Australia’s less educated and less intelligent have fallen straight into Abbott’s net.
It used to be sport. One could jump on Facebook and spend many a fun afternoon browsing through the Tony Abbott fan pages, indulging in onanistic schadenfreude at their less cranially empowered countrymen. A quick glance produces such gems as:
“To all the counter-protesters, just remember the old saying: revenge is best served on a cold dish”
I remember the old saying a little differently.
“You lefties are rude, smug and thing (sic) the world was evolved around you. Its not. I’m sure you don’t want the demons coming out of your closet.”
You guys really know how to murder an aphorism.
“Hahaha I bet these isises are not celebrating Christmas with Tone on their tail unload on em big fella”
I bet they’re not. Especially not considering they’re of a different faith.
“I don’t want it to the point where for our safety we need to mark Muslims to identify them but they are making it hard on themselves”
Perhaps some sort of star on their chest?
“ABC stands for Un-Australian Bulldusters and Liars Company”
Or the perennial favourite:
“100 years ago we taught these Arabs a lesson at Gallipoli. They seem to have forgotten it with the way they’re carrying on in Syria”
There’s a few things wrong with that one. I don’t even know where to start.
All in good fun right? But as the old saying goes (and as it actually goes) “it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt”.
Well we’ve reached the point where somebody is getting hurt. Many somebody’s actually. And it needs to stop.
First was this article about Sarah Hanson-Young’s inspection of Manus Island, when posted on the “I’ll stand by Tony” Facebook page met with a furious response.
Were the conservatives upset that a sitting senator, investigating the Government’s offshore gulag, was spied upon by government agents? Were they outraged that reports in which the conduct of the staff at said gulag was called into question - reports that indicated racism, abuse and torture - were destroyed before being seen by the public? Were they at all concerned by this obviously fascist suspension of human rights and common decency?
No. Of course they weren’t.
They were outraged that Sarah Hanson-Young had the gall to question the dear leader and his offshore detention program. There was anger and vitriol and bile, but none of it directed towards the blatantly inhumane practices in Nauru. No, it was all at Sarah Hanson-Young, a senator doing her job.
“Everything she does should be gone over with a fine tooth comb, a not to be trusted person. Ugly inside.”
Well at least she got the saying right.
“OH PLEASE the Greens need to treat us as having more intelligence than they allege! This woman is a danger to our country!! What on earth is she doing handing out her business cards to allleged refugees?? Can’t wait until the next election and she is voted OUT!!!!”
I’ve been through the article a few times, I even did a cheeky “ctrl-f” and I still can’t find any mention of business cards.
“Please Sarah go home and bake some cookies or do something around the house like gardening, anything to get your mind off these asylum seekers. Compared to where they came from (if their home is as bad as they claim it is) they are safe here and are well fed. I must say what it shown on TV these people need some lessons in housekeeping and cleanliness, they are very poor housekeepers!!!”
I…I don’t even…
“Sarah two dads has business cards???? Business cards mean a business venture. I wonder how much money changed hands between these illegals/people smugglers and SHY?????”
Again with the business cards!
“Fecking hell someone put this stupid dumb ho out of her misery.”
“Spied on by men? Talk about being in fantasy land, only a creature desperate for a feed would be watching her.”
“The downside of democracy having to put up with fools like this. Stalin would’ve just headshot her.”
Because I think it was Plato who said “democracy is for dumb lefties mate”.
But in all seriousness, in an article where it was revealed that a senator was spied upon and damning documents were destroyed, the responses were hateful and misogynist attacks on the senator herself, in defense of the crimes committed.
Australia, these are your countrymen.
Then there was this article. In it Dr David Isaacs, a pediatrician (and more than one Abbott supporter failed to recognise the distinction between “pediatrician” and “pedophile”) who worked in Nauru, defies the government’s fascist crackdown on whistle-blowers and risks imprisonment to deliver a damning report on the detention centre. He details the abuse, the self-harm, the racism, the hate, the rape and most tellingly, relates the story of a six year old girl who attempted to hang herself after being raped.
When this was posted on another pro-Abbott Facebook page the comments were in the same vein. I will not repeat them here, nor ever again, because such things should not be given oxygen. They should never be spoken by anyone with a shred of human decency or even a fragment of a human soul. Because these people, these supporters who will “stand by Tony Abbott” are evil. Nothing better encapsulates the concept that philosophers call the “banality of evil” better than the responses to this article.
Again there was vehement outrage. Were these people outraged about Australia having an offshore concentration camp? No.
Were they outraged that there was systematic abuse and torture of the detainees in this concentration camp? No.
Were they outraged that a 6 year old girl was raped in this concentration camp? No.
Were they outraged that said 6 year old girl attempted to kill herself by hanging herself from a wire fence after being raped in the concentration camp? No.
They were outraged that Dr Isaacs had the temerity to bring these crimes to the world’s light.
These people called for Dr Isaacs head. Literally, they were calling on him to be beheaded in the name of the state. They called for him to be imprisoned. They called for him to be thrown in a jail (sic) with the worst of society, the rapists and the murderers, and for the key to be thrown away. More than one Abbott supporter said that the state should be saved the money for a trial and that a bullet to the back of the head, like they do in China, would be more appropriate.
These are the people that vote for Tony Abbott. These are the people that Tony Abbott represents.
I worry that at the point where illegal imprisonment, torture and the rape of children doesn’t cause you to question the path your nation is on then we are truly lost. I worry that until the course of action reaches its logical conclusion, which it has in the past quite dramatically, that people will not realise the evil until it has well and truly placed its Hugo Boss jackboot firmly on their own throat.
I worry that despite all my efforts this will be in vain. That such people will never see the danger. Will never have their minds changed until it is too late. But still I have to fight. As useless as it may seem at times, I have to fight. I have to keep trying. Because if I don’t I will have been just as complicit as those who actively support this regime and the atrocities it commits.Because if I don’t then Tony Abbott will be the Prime Minister I deserve as well.