LEARNING TO LOVE: POLITICS

Since launching Learning to Love in my quest to become more open-minded, I have been…failing spectacularly. Sorry everyone, but I have been busy partying, getting heavily invested in the Australian basketball league (who knew they grew boys that tall?!) and spending money I borrowed from my mum. Thank god summer is almost over. 

It’s been a while since my last column, and to be honest, I received some pretty negative backlash on my views towards dogs (Heather Brennan for the millionth time, your dog and I are cool now). For those of you who still talk to me, thank you. 

I thought it was only topical, what with the world falling apart etc. that my next conquest was something we can all collectively agree needs a little bit more love: the political sphere. And not just Australian politics, but politics across the world. When I told my friend I was doing this, she said (as kindly as she could without insulting me) “babe, why don’t you just stick to Australian politics?” And to that, I say no. I will admit that worldwide, there is a lot to cover. But, if you’re going to step in shit, you may as well do it with two feet. 

See, the thing is, I love having (the right) opinion. But when I say I know nothing about politics, I mean nothing. The most patriotic I have ever gotten is financially backing Kevin Rudd’s Kevin07 campaign in year six by making choc-cherry spiders (and then purchasing them off myself) You’re welcome Kevin. 

I have such limited knowledge that I literally cannot contribute a single opinion with any real substance to any conversation even vaguely relating to politics.

Me staying silent in the office’s #politics Slack channel. 

I rely heavily on my friends who take political classes at UQ (and enjoy it) to get me through political small talk. I have this one friend – everyone has at least one – who just knows everything there is to know about politics. Her brain is so big and it’s full of government secrets. Every time I don’t understand something, I just say hey Ashleigh can you please explain the new freedom religious bill but explain it in a way you would to someone who had just been born? 

Well, that is no longer. I will educate myself, and learn to love, all there is about politics. In the words of Michelle Obama, “if you are committed to doing what it takes, anything is possible. It is up to you.” 

Politics things I’ve done this week: 

  • Perused Hugh Grant’s British politics Twitter account at a leisurely speed

I would die for the British. It’s the birthplace of Olivia Coleman, Love Island, and people who are actually funny. They think 21 degrees is hot. All their rugby players are 10’s. What’s not to love? However, I could never really get around their politics – the royals really overshadow them. I would hate being a politician in the UK. You’re on the hustle and all everyone cares about is Megan Markle’s blowout. Luckily, they’ve got Hugh Grant absolutely sending it on @HackedOffHugh – his incredible Twitter account who aided me through the battle field that was British politics. After a three-hour perusal, I think I’d finally cracked why everyone hates Boris Johnson.

Dedication:  10/10. Hugh not only knows rom-coms, but he knows British politics.
Respect: 10/10. A lot of work has gone into these perfectly crafted tweets. Big ups to Hugh. 
Love: 10/10. This man may very well save us all. 

A personal favourite.

  • Watched Designated Survivor (the first episode) 

My friend recommended Designated Survivor  to me about four years ago when it actually came out, but right after he warned me that it requires “intense concentration” – I was immediately ruled out. I thought that maybe, four years later, I could handle it. I have a degree! I have a job! I’ve been concentrating for years now. I recruited the only friend I knew I could trick into an episode of Designated Survivor – one who had just returned from overseas, and missed me enough to do anything I say. She was honestly a little confused, because she thought we were picking up from our last viewing session of Spinning Out (the show with Effy from Skins about the bi-polar ice-skater #renewseason2). But alas, we pushed on. Holy fuck – I genuinely had no idea why it was called Designated Survivor, but now I do. This has really put me off politics. That dude just wanted to do a little urban developments and now he’s running the fucking country. 

Dedication: 3/10. Couldn’t push on to the second episode. 
Respect: 9/10. Politics is high-stake. 
Love: 1/10. This has made me never want to be a politician. Not even a First Lady. 

  • Participated in American political office chat

I joined a Slack channel at work called #politics. The official statement reads: “discussion of all things politics, particularly of American strain.” If you don’t know what Slack is, it’s basically MSN for a bunch of corporate adults. Previously, I had only used it to message my friend 3 desks away from me about the mistakes we made on the weekend. But alas, that was no more. I was using Slack for what it was intended for: educational purposes. I wasn’t sure why it was “of the American strain” but I was intrigued, particularly because I’ve been meaning to get into the debate, There were a lot of “feel the bern” memes, which I was getting around, but quickly discovered it was too much, especially at 10am on a Tuesday. Messages about the debates were coming through left right and centre. I was stressed and confused. People were sharing their political views a little too deeply. Dave from Finance, I don’t think you should be telling that to the entire office. I had to log off from #politics. 

Dedication: 2/10. Was hard to understand. 
Respect: 9/10. People seriously don’t care if everyone else in the office knows they back Trump ? Love: 10/10. I thought this entire thing was hilarious and super dumb. HR will definitely be getting a hold of this.

*Names have been changed to avoid potential embarrassment. 

  • Discovered my federal electorate 

Now that I have conquered world politics (people like my politically switched on friend Ashleigh will probably bash me for saying the UK and America are ‘world politics’) it was time to go back to my roots – Australia. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t actually know who my electorate was (I’d been busy aiming higher with Kevin07). Thankfully, there is actually a little gadget (here it is for my other politically challenged babes) that can help you find your local electorate. Genius. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this four years ago when I was engaging myself in hour-long conversations with volunteers who weren’t even from the RYAN federal electorate?! 

Dedication: 6/10. I should’ve done this a long time ago. And, I’m actually still a little confused.
Respect: Thank god they’ve got this on the web for noobs like me. 
Love: 10/10. Can’t wait to impress people by casually throwing around in conversations that I’m in the RYAN electorate.

THE FINAL REVIEW: 

I’ve never been the friend that people come to about politics. And after this article, I definitely still won’t be. But that’s okay, because I think I’m learning to (somewhat) like politics.

“I feel comfortable using political jargon in everyday life.”
☆☆☆☆ 29 February 2020. Maddy Morwood.

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