• Kristin Perissinotto

Politicians are just people...

Politicians are simultaneously just like and nothing like the rest of us. The idea that they're 'just regular people' often comes about when something bad happens. When they mess up, when something problematic from their past emerges, when they're caught doing something questionable, or not following the mask mandate when walking into their workplace.

Yes, they are just 'regular people,' and regular people mess up. But how hard would it be, genuinely, to find regular people who would do a better job than the regular people we have representing us now?

How hard would it be to find an electrician who understands how batteries work, and how solar power can be stored and work when it's dark outside? How difficult is it to find someone who would agree that the state of the climate is dire then actually follow through by voting to for a net-zero plan? Would it be hard to find a group of regular, everyday people who thought it important to follow regulations that have been in place for 120 years, instead of to protecting someone who's reputation is already in tatters and may lose his job in the next six months anyway?

Would it take long to find men who would respect a woman's wishes not to have her hand shaken for a photo? Or people who find it inappropriate to promote someone who is under investigation or public suspicion? Is it difficult to find someone who doesn't preach about the importance of mental health while actively causing stress, anxiety, fear, and anger for millions of people?

What's the likelihood that we could find someone who refrains from going on holidays in the midst of the biggest crisis their country had seen in years? Is it impossible to find people who would go against international law to lock innocent families in prisons for years and years? What about people who think it's wrong to lock up children? Or forcefully remove those children from the only home they have ever known?

Would it be hard to find people who could lead without being bullied by a minor party with only 6% of all federally elected officials? How hard would we have to look to find someone who will drop the ball on a vital vaccine rollout, criticise the leaders who actually did the work, then take the credit for the whole fucking thing? Is it difficult to find a person who does not espouse christian family values then have an affair with a staffer who will go on to accuse them of bullying and intimidation?

Do you think we could find someone who wouldn't 'accidentally' charge stacks of people living below the poverty line thousands of dollars, claiming they are in 'debt' to the government? Could we possibly find people who would not pass a motion named 'it's okay to be white,' that aims to 'oppose the deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on western civilisation'? What are the chances we could find a woman who could represent the people and also disclose relationships that could impact upon her ability to perform her job?

Could we have found some people who did not routinely steal Indigenous children away from their families for over a hundred years? Who would not protect people accused of acts of violence? Who would not call the alleged victim of those attacks horrible names? Is there someone, anyone out there, who could sit in parliament and refrain from turning his back on women when they speak?

The reality is, it wouldn't be hard at all. I could name a dozen regular people right now who I would vote for above any of my current local options. But our political system has nothing to do with availability. There are heaps of people out there, people who genuinely want the job, people who genuinely want to represent their community. But our political system upholds systems of oppression. White supremacy, ableism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, the list goes on. The people are out there. They are ready. They want it. They deserve it. But until things in this nation seriously change, they won't get the chance.