Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Rage Factor

Kevin Rudd set the tone of our recent election in many ways, but above all he refused to engage the bitterness that is often a feature of these contests. He even went so far as to suggest there is no anger or hate at the Howard government, simply a desire to move on with a fresh team, suggesting more of the same in some ways.

From reports I’m getting, from poll workers on the day, there was a surprising level of anger and rage among voters. The general comment was that it was something these once a day every few years workers had never seen before.

In fact there has been a growing, and disturbing level of rage right across the country. Some of it manifests in the road rage we are blighted with, we have also seen the indiscriminate rage like the beach riots of recent years. Now neighbourhood rage is taking its sad toll.

The legacy of the Howard years covers a range of sad issues; the often boasted and promised wealth has simply not filtered through to most Australians. The financial suffering is widespread, but the message has been ‘everyone is doing well’, leaving the question; ‘what have I done wrong?’

John Howard’s policy simply left the people he was governing for out of the equation. During his victory speech Rudd promised to govern for all Australians, but significantly he chose to mention one particular man, a bloke who died yesterday – Bernie Banton.

"Bernie, you stand out as a clarion call to us all about what is decent and necessary in life and mate, I salute you," Mr Rudd said. He was referring to a man who had fought for years to win compensation for asbestos workers from James Hardie. It was a matter of the little bloke, a dying man, fighting the corporate giant.

Just days before the election and his death from asbestos related cancer won his final battle against the corporation, on top of helping to set up a $4 billion compensation fund to help mesothelioma sufferers gain access to a drug to help ease their pain and possibly extend their lives.

Bernie’s rage kept him alive long enough to win his final claim, and to stand as a clear symbol of where this country needs to head. Hid rage was highly targeted and stands as a great example for the rest of us. I hope Rudd is really reading the signals.


D.K. Raed said...

Maybe properly directed rage is what it takes to change things. Is it exportable?

Cartledge said...

d.k. My reflections at the moment are on what these events might mean elsewhere. The US already has the rage factor and it bit the Repugs on the bum last year.
I'm playing with the idea that it builds to a swell regardless of what is being said publicly.
I hope I can build up some ideas here.