Do remember a time when it used to be taboo to talk openly about sensitive topics such as your political persuasion? Or that not wanting to expose yourself to the propaganda of each party simply meant switching the TV off and tossing the mass mail out material without bothering to give it a second glance?
Call me old fashioned but sadly it would appear these ‘good ol’ days’ where your preference for Labour, Liberal or otherwise was a private matter are kaput. Because with the rise of social media during this current election campaign – and ergo the decline of diplomacy – it is apparently no longer deemed politically incorrect to talk about one’s Party preference.
The same themes greet me each time I log on to my Facebook or Twitter feeds. There they are, those I follow, freely espousing their political persuasions, and it feels like they are pushing their preferences in my face. They attach YouTube clips, link to news websites, or type a rambling monologue that wouldn’t be out of place if spoken atop a soapbox in Australia’s equivalent of Hyde Park Corner, all in an attempt to demand that I vote one way, or not to vote another.
Whether they realise it or not, they have become a free advertising vehicle for the parties and might as well have signed on for an (unpaid) campaigning job. This would be fine, if it wasn’t all getting so personal. Arguments abound everywhere, as friends jostle back and forth online, using words as swords, trying to cut each other down for daring to have a different view. It aint pretty and not what I want to digest over my breakfast each day.
We’re a passionate people, no doubt. And likely it is a good thing to care deeply about the state of our country and who is going to lead it into a (hopefully) prosperous future. But I’m fed up with being inundated by everyone pushing their preferred PM’s agenda (and interesting, it is always about Rudd vs Abbott, not so much Labour vs Liberal) in my face. I’m educated enough and informed enough to make my own decision and won’t be swayed because of a hate campaign friends or followers on social media have enacted.
Of course, we are lucky to live in a country where we have the right to speak freely about anything, but political correctness could do with making a comeback. Because as much as we thankfully enjoy freedom of speech, we should also be allowed the entitlement to keeping our political preference private. We shouldn’t fear online retribution because of our personal beliefs, and we shouldn’t be brainwashed either.
So, come Saturday, when I take my turn to cast a vote for the future governing political party, I’ll stick with tradition and ignore the online onslaught. I’ll be sealing my lips right along with sealing my vote.