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Credit where it’s due: Defence from the Left for Trump and Turnbull

Credit where it’s due: Defence from the Left for Trump and Turnbull

Friday 7 October, 2016
Criticising the actions of politicians and those others whose job it is to lead us, bring laws into place, and alter the course of the nation, is an important civic duty. It is important to let these individuals see that we the people are not happy, that what they are doing – or more commonly, what […]
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Criticising the actions of politicians and those others whose job it is to lead us, bring laws into place, and alter the course of the nation, is an important civic duty. It is important to let these individuals see that we the people are not happy, that what they are doing – or more commonly, what they have said – is wrong, or broken, and/or stupid.

On the other hand, it’s also very important to give credit where it’s due. Working for the public can be rewardless, thankless and difficult. Trying to make everyone happy, and usually failing, creating compromises that no one is happy with, these things can become taxing. Like at any job, it becomes very important to hear, “Hey, good job. Well done”.

This is one such time. Although we all laughed at Turnbull’s refrain of “jobs and growth” – and rightly so – it’s time to admit that, okay, fair enough, things are looking up for the economy.

Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Lowe, chaired his first board meeting since attaining his title.

“The economy is continuing to grow at a moderate rate,” he said. “Inflation remains quite low.”

While this might not be a massive surge of money in the economy, and the Australian dollar is still only buying 76.7 US cents, it’s only fair to admit that progress is progress. It is very easy to say that fixing a small part of the economy is not exactly doing our best to fight climate change, or helping the asylum seekers locked up, or any other number of things it would be easy to complain about. But the fact remains that the economy is an important part of any nation’s success, and so far Turnbull has managed a victory, and for that, he should be lauded. Even if that can be viewed as a carry-on from Abbott. The economic landscape is a rickety one, and there’s no shame celebrating a victory on that unsure slope.

I hold the firm belief that no administration is all bad or all good. Some good things happened under Bush Jr and some bad things happened under Gough Whitlam.

Trump

There were more than just “some”, but this is a TBS favourite… (Image: Politico)

While I’m on a defence kick for people I do not like, let’s talk about Trump. More specifically, Trump’s widely reported comments that military suicides happen to servicemen who “can’t handle it”.

Oh, boy.

I am loathe to defend someone who is likely to be named the most incompetent person to ever receive the Republican Presidential Nomination, but it seems due after actually reading the transcript of the answer he gave to a room full of veterans, which is printed in the Buzzfeed article on the topic.

It’s clear to me that, though it was very poorly worded, Trump didn’t actually mean to say that soldiers with PTSD “can’t handle it” or that they take their own lives because they aren’t “strong”.

Although his answer is devoid of actual tactics on how to handle the “22 suicides a day”, it seems as if he genuinely is concerned by something “that should never be”. He was appealing to the veterans in the room, using his salesman speak, calling them strong and, because they support him, that must mean that he is strong and therefore worth their support.

It was a tactic that backfired.

The language around mental health is a fraught with difficulty – for example, we shouldn’t be saying “commit suicide” because it associates the act with crime and sin, we should instead say “suicided” or “took their own life” – and for someone like Trump, who has no filter from brain to mouth, this was a minefield to address.

I’m sure the argument could be made that Trump is no mental health advocate, and make no mistake, there is no love lost between Trump and I, but the point be this. The culture of automatic political negging makes us all blind, and frankly more stupid. I’m not asking you to not hate, or not criticise. Just swing the boot toward the posterior of our leaders when they absolutely deserve it.

Now excuse me as I doff my cap rightward.

 

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