Well, it is September 7th which means that it is the Australian Federal Election, and it is also the last day that I have to put up with the internet bombarding me with all of this political advertising. I remember that only a few years ago I could flee to the internet to escape the relentless bombardment of political advertising that dominated our televisions during the election campaigns but now, thanks to Barak Obama (and to a limited extent, Kevin Rudd) this has all changed. Due to the success of both parties in moving election campaigns online there is now nowhere you can escape the relentless bombardment of soundbites trying to convince you why you should not vote for the other guy.
I sometimes wonder if this is what political campaigning has become. Okay, granted, politicians lie, they always have and they always will. The only reason that they want the job is because of the power, prestige, and money that comes with the position. However the real question is whether they actually give a shit about the country that they are running, and most people simply say that they don't. This was the case in point with George W Bush. In a way he needed the votes to get himself elected, but the only America that he seemed to really care about was the America that was inhabited by the wealthy one percent. It is not that this has changed all that much under Obama, but at least he is trying to move the country in a new direction.
I guess the reason that I have become so disenchanted with politics is that the right wing parties seem to believe that they are the only party who are capable of managing the economy and running the country. However, managing a country and managing one's personal finances are two completely different things. It is okay to cut away non-essentials when managing your own house hold budget, but when it comes to managing a country, things change dramatically because the definition of non-essenstials change. Okay, granted, many of the right wingers seem to believe that they should not be paying for something that they are not using, such as public schools. However, the cost of a decent public education has become so prohibitive that I am actually loathe to have children because I cannot simply afford to give them a decent lifestyle.
The problem with the whole user pays idealism is that it is first of all simply plain selfish. While the top 1% enjoy the benefits of living in an advanced democracy, the rest have to scrounge money together to simply make ends meet, and that is not counting the fact that many of us end up going into debt to simply make those ends meet. In my time I have seen university education go from being free to being prohibitive. In fact, there are a lot of people at my work that have dropped out of university and started working simply because they cannot afford to go to university. Then there are people like me who are saddled with a HECS debt but am not earning anywhere near enough money that justifies the two degrees I have. Okay, I consider the HECS debt to be a claytons debt, that is a debt that is not really a debt. However, that may change with the new government (who I can forsee attacking the lower classes to support their upper class friends). In a way, with the cuts to public education, and to university, those of us in the lower classes are not only being denied education, and good quality education at that, but also the ability to earn a decent income.