The world's f*cked, run for office
Updated: Feb 25
The last thing I read before going to bed last night was that Raphael Warnock had won the Georgia run-off elections, becoming the first black senator in the state. Today, the 7th of January 2021, exactly two weeks from the US inauguration, I woke up to read that the other Georgia Democrat candidate, Jon Ossoff, had also won, meaning the Democrats now have a majority in the House and the Senate. I also read about the hordes of Trump supporters storming the Capitol in Washington DC, and now a formal proceeding is ongoing in DC, recounting electoral votes after Republican senators formally questioned the election results. To read the events in chronological order and to keep up to date, I have been referring to this ABC article.
Today also happens to mark one year since I decided to run for local council in my area, something I temporarily forgot reading about the extremely disturbing events happening across the Pacific. What we're seeing in the US is the consequence of a narcissistic egomanic, who only represents his own interests, elected into the most powerful position in the world. Trump doesn't care for democracy, betterment of society, or anyone around him. He doesn't even care about the presidency, he only cares about winning. This was obvious in 2016, and it's obvious now. He can't handle the loss of a second term. But he's somehow convinced his supporters that he cares about them. "We love you," he said to the rioters via his Twitter page. That was his message to them while they were storming the capitol.
Trump is an extreme example, but serves as a wakeup call. We need diversity in government. In all levels of government. This is one of the biggest lessons I learned while running for council in early 2020. Every level of government in Australia is dominated by people over the age of 51, who are white and male, and our elected officials are predominately made up of career politicians. People who have not experienced life in the 'real world'. Our governments, here, in the US, and all over the world, do not represent our communities. Yes, we need organisers, advocates, and activists. But we also need people in government. We need young people, working class people, in Australia we need Indigenous people, who are grossly underrepresented in government.
The world has had enough of overprivileged people whose campaigns are built on ego and money. Trump isn't the only one, he's just the worst. So far. Government is the most effective when society participates. That means no more 'nothing ever changes' and no more 'my vote doesn't make a difference'. And I'm not just talking about voting once a year. It's beyond that now. Things are out of control and if you're unhappy with what you see, you need to take matters into your own hands. Australians can run for office from the age of 18. And I'm tired of being told we're too young, too inexperienced. Tony Abbott was 56 when he was elected as Prime Minister, and he made more dumb mistakes than I did at 18. Trump is 74 and still has an apparent inability to think logically.
Why are so many Millennials and Gen Z-er, US citizen or otherwise, obsessed with AOC? Because she represents us. She's one of the very few young people who have been elected into a prominent government position. She also represents the Hispanic and Latina communities, groups who are often neglected. I'll say it again: the government is supposed to represent us. And it doesn't. We have only just started publicly talking about the percentage of women in Australian governments, and that is the very tip of the iceberg in terms of diversity, given women make up 51% of the population. What about the working class? People of colour? Again, young people? Refugees? Australia is made up of a hell of a lot more than white men over the age of 51 who have only ever worked in politics.
So please, for the love of democracy, go and watch Knock Down the House and consider a future in politics.