Election Time
So it’s election time at the moment, and I was reflecting in coversation with a friend the other day, how politics used to so crank my handle. I’m a real Isaiah 58 kinda girl.. justice, restoration and all that. I used to spend hours talking on the phone to my friends at night about social policy, health policy, education. I was about 14 or so, and boys weren’t really on the radar, it was just about politics. When I was about 7.. must have been just before Mum & Dad divorced, I wrote a letter to David Lange, the then Prime Minister, about how concerned I was for my future education if the teachers from my primary school continued to strike because of insufficient funding and low pay. He wrote back, which I always thought was cool.

Right now, two terms into a Labour-led coalition Government, I still am not convinced that MMP has produced a more effective means of governing a country. I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who still vote based on personality and popular opinion and were caught by surprise with the push through on the Prostitution Reform Bill and the Civil Unions Bill.

I shouldn’t be amazed. We live in a ridiculously media-controlled state. I mean, we de-regulated radio in the 60’s and 70’s, only to now live in a country where every major radio network takes it’s news feed from the one company. Where is independant media in this country? Those who read the NZ Herald as if it’s not ridiculously biased, are woefully unaware. At least the Sunday Star-Times offers a glimpse of independant editorial. It encourages me when opinion pieces in the same publication differ, after all, it suggests an editorial subjectiveness that the population ought to be pursuing and seeking out. Is it the same with our broadcast media? Well.. hard to say. I don’t pay enough attention to TV journalism, and I never worked in 100% talk format radio. But casual observation suggests the same, with the exception of student radio, that prides itself on the alternative streak, and doesn’t necessarily hold that much sway with popular opinion.. after all.. we listen to student radio to be entertained, not to have our minds expanded. Someone told me that once and I’m not sure if I disagree.

This time last year I was building up to going to the States, and I was there for the build-up to their election. US media is equally corrupt in terms of where they sit on a political spectrum, but at least that’s broadly known. Each network has a political alliance, quite often related to the family money trail, but after all, politics is a rich man’s game in the Senate. But, like I said, at least you know who’s sitting where and who’s influencing who, and pushing what bandwagon.

It feels like NZ’ers are so laidback that they genuinely don’t care if they’re being taken for a ride, and so consequently.. we wait with baited breath for National’s center-right tax cuts to be announced, to be usurped by Labour’s center-left tax cuts and all of a sudden, I’ve forgotten who the socialists and who the capitalists are. When an election campaign turns from self-promotion of well-grounded, thought out policies to electioneering on behalf of your preferred coalition partner.. ergh.

Why don’t we think? Why are so many people so nonchalant in regards to the future economic, social and long-term welfare of the nation? And Christians seem to be the worst .. after all. Our independant but blatantly pigeonholed as Christian thinktank and policy lobbyists are doing exactly the same thing as the political parties are… the message is clear “Don’t think that, think this”. Why not just teach people to think? So Christians rise stumbling to their feet in regards to moral or conscience issues.. but an election which will always be based around tax-cuts, health and education spending barely gets a rise out your average Joe Bloggs church-goer.

Church and State are independant after all, but are irrevocably intertwined, and there ought to be a responsibility to follow through with the weight of what democracy means. Maxim have put together an independant website called NZVotes. It’s worth a look, because it does have a broad spectrum view of the policies of each party, as well as snippets from each candidate on how they are likely to vote on conscience issues. So well done, Maxim, in that regard at least.

Anyway.. all that came from this link.. to a moderate little snippet from today’s paper. This opinion piece from the NZ Herald makes some good commentary on the plight of singles and childless couples who have worked hard to pay off student loans, in the face of all the current politicking around tax and student loans.

Ahh. Yay for voting time.

Unplug, Damn It.
Marko’s blog has become one of my favourite reads, I appreciate his insights, commentary and humour. His camping trips complete with big screen Xbox sound like a fabulous time. However, currently there is some blog-dust flying over what I thought was pretty harmless. It’s just reminded me that sometimes people can take all this stuff way too seriously, and it all seems to become a bit personal. So.. I’m going to unplug at some point today and just take a big deep breath.

What do you think?