I don’t like the hatred that’s crept into modern politics.
I’m not so naive to think that hatred hasn’t always existed, not just between parties, but within them and outside them.
However, there is too much anger in politics today, as the above sign from Tony Abbott’s rally this week illustrates.
Can’t people criticise Julia Gillard and her policies without the vitriol? I know John Howard faced similar attacks, but I do think it’s a relatively recent phenomenon.
I attribute this to the Americanisation of Australian politics and the influence of the internet, although the two are probably linked.
Abbott and the conservatives seems to be modelling their style on the Tea Party movement, seeking to claim a popular mandate for their ideology.
Abbott should know he’s entering dangerous territory, given his personal involvement in seeking to bring down Pauline Hanson some years ago, but power consumes and absolute power consumes absolutely.
The bigger factor is how public opinion is now expressed on the web. There is no civility about much of it and little subtlety.
Mark Kenny reflected on this in The Advertiser today.
“A culture where basic politeness has been washed away and where people hiding behind cryptic pseudonyms, use a brashness and ferocity they would never display in their face-to-face interactions.
“Responses to articles often betray an adolescent longing to be heard, a yearning so powerful that indignant feedback is sometimes dashed off long before the article in question has been read. As often as not, this abusive discourse carries on between respondents providing an unedifying exchange of tit-for-tat insults.”
I wonder sometimes if media websites shouldn’t apply the same standards to comments that they do to letters: verify identification and remove abusive language. I suspect that would account for most of the comments and deflate the “conversation” they seek to generate.
It’s probably too late anyhow; the genie is out of the bottle.