Oops, we forgot to be racist

Give Ken Wyatt a break you idiots.

What does it say about our country that the election of the first Aboriginal member of the House of Representatives is instantly condemned by both by his own voters and people of the same ethnic background?

There is little one can say directly to anyone so blatantly racist as to send hate mail. Racism is fundamentally irrational; those who subscribe to it are not motivated by careful reasoning or consideration of the facts. Nevertheless, I think it rather fitting that such people, who clearly pay so little attention to reality, find themselves accidentally voting against their own archaic, tribal view of the world. Not that the Labor Party necessarily represents any such thing (it has its own special brand of archaic tribalism that transcends any festering racial issues), but there were certainly other choices on offer.

I can only imagine, given all the rubbish about boat people, that they must have equated the Labor Party with tolerance of other cultures, and decided they wanted none of that. Only Chris Back could have convinced racists to vote for an Aborigine. I’ll give him that one.

To those asking why Wyatt signed up to a “racist” party, I think this criticism shows a lack of vision. The Liberal Party certainly hasn’t been looked upon as the party of reconciliation (however much it likes to trumpet the merits of the NT intervention). The newly-ex Liberal member for O’Connor, Wilson “Iron Bar” Tuckey, stands as a stark testament to that.

One answer is to elect the Labor Party, which is all fine and good from a voter’s perspective, but it would be a cop out from Wyatt’s point of view. If those entering politics treat the Liberal Party as the “racist party”, then that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Surely, if Wyatt is liberal-leaning, it would be best for him to work within the Liberal Party to help reform its culture than just throw up his arms and accept that one side of politics is inherently racist. We need both major parties to be open to reconciliation, not just one of them. Racism must be starved of oxygen, not allowed free reign in one half of the political sphere.

Of course, there is a risk that Wyatt might be used as a cover for continued intolerant attitudes in the Liberal Party and its base. I don’t expect miracles overnight.