Friday, November 23, 2007

Enough. Dear god, enough.

The difference between this election and the other two federal elections I've voted in is that this time there seems to be a real hope of getting rid of John Howard.

I can't even tell you how much I looked forward to voting on my 18th birthday in 2001 after John Howard stole all Pauline Hanson's policies and then added his own little extras- the election won on a wave of vitriol and hatred that Labor was afraid to stand up to. I looked forward to having my say again in 2004 where Mark Latham put forward some really good policies and yet I still couldn't bring myself to vote anything but Green because I could see that Latham's own party had undermined him in trying to soften his image. The failure of the ALP to counter the Howard government's attacks on Latham was so glaring that that it seemed to be a deliberate strategy by people in the party- almost as if they saw another term of John Howard as being more in their interests than Latham continuing to wield power as leader.

This time, there appears to be a mood for change. Not so much change of policies as change of leader, which is why Kevin Rudd has been so careful of the areas in which he differentiates himself from the government. I want Kevin Rudd to be Prime Minister only because it means we're rid of Howard. It's the first step on the road to making Australia a better country.

Now the polls are showing that Labor's lead over the coalition is narrowing: the ALP could win 52% of the two-party preferred vote and still not win government. Even if the polls were predicting a landslide I could scarcely bring myself to believe that the day is almost here where we can oust John Howard. With the polls that close, I know I'm going to have a sleepless night.

I've had enough of John Howard. I can remember being 14 and wishing I could vote so I could do something to get rid of him. Tomorrow will have been two weeks since I turned 24. Next year Gam and I will get married. Within the next decade we'll have children. I want to raise our kids in a country that has reached a stage where it has repudiated John Howard and all he stands for. I want to teach our kids about the John Howard era as a thing of the past, not something continued under Peter Costello, or Tony Abbott, or Alexander Downer that they will learn to rail against as they reach the stage of life where they start to think about the future they will build.

I can't think of a country I'd rather live in than Australia- not permanently. We've got a lot of good things. We have also allowed John Howard to take the credit for the great things we have- we allow him to spout pseudo-patriotic statements about mateship and being Australian while he continues to believe that we should have a foreign monarch as our head of state. While he continues to fawn at the feet of the imperialist US administration, smiling wetly as he receives the infrequent pat on the head from his US masters. The man who undermines our identity as a country simultaneously tries to take credit for creating it.

I can't believe what we have allowed John Howard to get away with.

I can say in all honesty that tomorrow I will feel devastated if we allow it to happen again. Australia- I'll never forgive you!

Note: as a sign that I can scrape together an ounce of optimism that John Howard will tomorrow be consigned to the dustbin of history I am creating a John Howard tag. This will aid those fortunate enough in the future to not remember his time in government to spend time researching the man as the relic he is.