Personality Politics

 

 

Several years ago a major survey revealed what could only be described as the shallow nature of a clear majority of Australians when it came to gift giving. It was a difficult survey to digest because when I [Tony] was a kid things were vastly different. Perhaps as I grow older I see my youth through rose coloured glasses, though I can’t help but think that humanity is collectively loosing the plot. Participants in this particular survey were asked, “When it comes to giving and receiving gifts what is more important, the gift itself, or the paper in which it is wrapped?” A staggering 75% indicated that the wrapping was more important than the gift. Shocked? When you think about it, it really isn’t all that surprising given humanity’s inherent vanity and self centeredness. Someone once said (I’m sure it was my wife) that even if you gift wrap a sack of garbage it will still be a sack of garbage; this is a most apt analogy when discussing that second taboo: Politics. Now, for those few who take delight in misquoting me let me state quite clearly that by using this analogy I am NOT referring to people. The discerning reader will see the reference to the changing ‘face’ of parties and the unchanging ‘heart’. Changing a leader has little effect on changing the ethics and policies of the institution they front - this reality applies to parties of all persuasions. Blind Freddy can see that issues have taken a back seat to personalities in the current political climate – and that should surprise only the slumbering and terminally naive.

 

Though admittedly not all to social detriment, the United States of America has been putting talking heads into political office for years – Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono, Jesse Ventura, Ronald Regan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al; and now it seems it is our turn to emulate the trend here down under. The rationale behind this elevation of ‘personalities’ into political power is both academic and insulting at the same time. According to a more recent study, personalities and pretty people get more votes; it is as simple as that.1 Do not think for one moment that opposition leader Kevin Rudd doesn’t know how to market his people and politics to get his desired, dialectic denouement. Eleven plus years out of the big chair has made the Australian Labor Party (ALP) desperate. The fact that Rudd [whose wife does not share the family surname] is presently employing a consumerist cajolery is frankly insulting to those of us with more than one active brain cell, and typical of the arrogance of those so out of touch with those whom they seek to ‘serve’ that they are prepared to treat like fools those whose votes they crave. This is a canny chess game folks and three guesses who the pawns are?!

 

A couple of years back the South Australian Liberal Party endorsed AFL footballer Nigel Smart as a candidate who subsequently failed to win a seat at the State election because of poor ‘product placement’. More recently and at a Federal level the ALP inducted loose cannon Peter Garret (of Midnight Oil fame) and soon conformed him into a faithful party puppet while allowing him the ‘appearance’ of retaining the anti-establishment rhetoric which first endeared him to the musically and ethically undiscerning. During the past week, as many of you will know, the media has been abuzz with Kevin Rudd’s ‘fresh thinking’ strategies which when closely examined, are not fresh at all. Fresh is just another buzz word like ‘green’, ‘radical’, ‘awesome’, ‘life’, ‘family’, ‘new’, ‘wicked’ ad nauseum. One of Rudd’s latest ‘fresh’ ideas is the trial by fire introduction of political unknown de jour Nicole Cornes, wife of 5AA’s Graham Cornes. Someone who was not even a member of the ALP at the time of her invitation to stand for the South Australian seat of Boothby at the upcoming Federal election, someone with no political experience, temperance or savvy whatsoever, someone who professes no particular political allegiance (until her invitation) nor passion for any given issue; someone whose only qualification for all intents and purposes seems to be her ‘looks’ and ‘style’. In fact, that is what the secular media has been beating their drum on all week. No doubt the ALP will counter critics by turning the whole thing into a personal attack against Nicole, shifting the focus from their deliberate manipulation of voter sensibilities. Please do not misunderstand my intent here – I have no personal grievance with Nicole in any sense. For all I know she is a decent, hard-working woman. My concern is that Nicole will become yet another ‘Rudd poster child’ in order to achieve his own political ambitions, and that she and her family will be hurt in the process. Our issue is not with Nicole, but with the whole concept of personality profiled politics. And to that end I simply pose this question: ‘Is this really how we want to choose those who will lead this nation’?

 

No political party is immune to this kind of political opportunism. The Family First Party 2 pulled a similar stunt here in South Australia when it first came into being announcing it had the very first ‘Indigenous Australian’ candidate in its ranks, that being Andrea Mason – a Paradise Community Church faithful. Seems if you can’t dazzle ‘em with issues, pull the race card and get the, ‘what a good boy am I’ sympathy vote. Ashley Evans, senior pastor of Andrea’s church is as guilty as any other for importing all manner of ‘personalities’ in order to peddle his razzmatazz version of churchianity. Personality driven religion, personality driven politics - smoke and mirrors, flesh focused falderal and it’s everywhere folks – everywhere! It is about consumerism and packaging – the content is irrelevant. Just as we mentioned earlier, it is an ideology which is both academic and insulting at the same time – have you been sucked in to it? Are you one of the 75%?

 

Of course personality politics is not an invention of the 21st century. In their demand for a king, ancient Israel chose one called Saul – not on the basis of his faithfulness, integrity, intellect or even his ‘political’ influence. Israel made the fatal error of choosing a leader solely on the basis of his ‘looks’ (1 Sam 9:2, 9:17, 10:23, 11:15) – a leader who would eventually fall on his own sword after having been rejected by Yahweh.

 

What a far cry from the leaders held in high regard by the Heavenly Father, people of no reputation, no standing, no visual appeal, no form, nor comeliness that we should be drawn to . . . you know to whom I am referring. (Isaiah 53:2, 3)

 

Our concern is that should the above mentioned survey results be a correct representation of the typical Aussie mindset, the Australian Labor Party could easily be swept into office at the upcoming Federal election. You need to determine within your own self whether or not you are representative of that 75% of people who prefer style over substance, because Kevin Rudd surely appears to have made up his mind on the issue.

 

And while the secular media may be shining his shoes and overlooking the bleeding obvious in the process, eagerly anticipating his pending crown, I am not buying what’s on offer, are you?

 

 

In His Everlasting Embrace

 

Tony and Pamela Dean

Moriah Ministries Australia

© 2007

 

 

Notes:

1.       Reseachers from the University of SA and the Australian National University found good-looking political candidates have an edge over their less attractive opponents. Their study, released last year (2006), found attractiveness can garner up to an extra 2 per cent of the vote. In the study, every candidate from the major parties at the last federal election was ranked based on their campaign photographs by people, including US citizens who had no prior knowledge of the individuals. UniSA researcher Amy King concluded good looks meant the difference between winning and losing in 10 per cent of the seats contested. However, ANU researcher Andrew Leigh said that while beauty was an asset, it might help men more than women because "female beauty carries connotations in the minds of some voters".

2.       As a courtesy we forwarded our last Watchman Report entitled ‘The Religion of Environmentalism’ to every Family First office in Australia and Tasmania seeing we made mention of them in it. Predictably to date not one of their representatives has extended us the courtesy of a response or even an acknowledgement of our post - So much for being accessable, approachable or accountable. If Family First has issues with our statements they are most welcome to approach us as we have them. Hiding behind their percieved piety serves no purpose other than revealing their true colours.

 

 

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