Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Water is thicker

Everyone knows the expression, “blood is thicker than water”. It’s meant to convey the solidity of family, and that sticking up for one’s family is one of the most important things in life. Sometimes, however, the opposite is the case, especially when it’s the watery sewage of political expediency that trumps family ties.

Tony Abbott is Australia’s conservative Leader of the Opposition, and the man who could become that country’s next prime minister. He’s also one of those particularly vile politicians who will sacrifice their own family in order to gain political advantage and power.

Abbott is poised to block marriage equality in Australia by insisting that every one of his Liberal Party Members of Parliament must vote against marriage equality, rather than allowing a conscience vote, as the currently ruling Australian Labor Party (ALP) has decided to do. With the ALP currently ruling in coalition, Abbott’s position means that marriage equality will fail because conservative ALP MPs will also vote against it.

This is all the more disgusting because Abbott’s own sister is in a lesbian relationship, but he’d obviously prefer to have his own sister live her live as a second-class citizen rather than do the responsible thing, allow a conscience vote on the matter. Politics trumps family for Abbott, every time.

Abbott is a conservative catholic and I’ve read that this is behind his intransigence. To me, that makes things even worse because it means he wants to impose his personal, private religious beliefs onto the entire country, including the majority of Australians who disagree with him on this issue. That’s wrong.

Let me be clear: I don’t personally know what Abbott’s religious beliefs really are, and I absolutely don’t care—quite frankly, it’s none of our business. However, if his personal, private religious beliefs are driving his public political behaviour, they’re fair game for criticism and condemnation.

Still, I don’t think that Abbott’s personal, private religious beliefs are really driving his public political behaviour. Instead, I think his driver is pure politics. Just as Karl Rove was willing to use GLBT people as a wedge issue to elect George Bush 2 (and Republicans generally) despite his own father being gay, I believe that Abbott is perfectly willing to allow his own sister to suffer in order to promote his lust for power.

If his personal, private religious beliefs really are driving his behaviour, then the responsible thing would be to allow a conscience vote while proclaiming that his personal, private religious beliefs compel him to oppose marriage equality. His freedom to express his personal, private religious beliefs does not give him the right to suppress the liberty of other people in order to promote his personal, private religious beliefs.

Whatever he does, and I doubt he’ll change course and be responsible on this issue, Abbott will be choosing to victimise a member of his own family. Sometimes, water is thicker.


Anonymous said...

Great post. It's fascinating to see the political spectrum down under, as compared to back in the USA. I think you're right that Abbot won't change course, but it sure would be nice!

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

You know, one of the things I find hardest is explaining the politics here to folks back in the US precisely because, as you say, it's so different. Still, some themes do repeat themselves! ;-)