Charlottesville, the Plebiscite, and the Revealed Dick: How 2017 Killed the Fence Sitter

Once upon a time, the undecided voter populated this planet, but the man made constructs of Charlottesville and the plebiscite has pushed us to the brink of extinction. 

 

Here lies the body of those who heard both sides out and judged neither.

I’m just going to say it upfront. For most of my life, I’ve been a devout centrist. When faced with the extremist account of whoever about whatever, I nodded at the girth of their bloated diatribes. Their beliefs were their beliefs, even if I didn’t understand them. Added to this was my compulsive vote swinging. Put your vote in the hat and the fun will begin. I voted for the man, not the issue. As a result, I tap danced over the rickety skyscrapers of identity politics, and the passe concept of voting for whoever because my parents did, I was singing above the pain.

A complete detachment was preferable. After all, the world’s ugliness would reveal itself independent of my hot take. I didn’t have anything to say, because what could you say? Our existence would remain as brutal as it is pointless. Besides, the land where centrists roamed was lush. Middle Earth. A vast savannah where all that the light touched was our kingdom. But the fires of oppositional war raged, inching itself ever closer. Headline by headline, retweet by retweet, punch by punch, the volcanic rhetoric immolated our once proudly apathetic borders, ultimately surrounding the last square foot of land with a discourse inferno, as the huddled remnants gazed into the lava, wondering when we should jump off pride rock.

In the last week alone, the volume has rocketed well past eleven, snapping off the dial, causing it to be trampled into the carpet. The bassline of hate has been impossible to ignore. We’ve witnessed the modern remix of ancient club anthems, again we’re hearing love versus hate. Locally, the question of marriage equality has split our Australian population in twain, both of the question and the manner in which it was asked. With the start of noted politicking of the argument that was delegated to us, some fear that this glorified opinion poll will enable our very own Brexit. It seems to fit. A disparate question cast beyond two disparate parties; but instead of leaving the EU, it’ll be half of us moving away from those who yell, “Hey, you!” The mailing of the important letters of the recent Australian experience has scrambled the harriers of the empathetic to bomb their elected targets, hitting them where it hurts most, but doing so in the knowledge that their precise death from twelve million paper cuts can easily be shrugged off.

Over the Atlantic, left and right once again met in the streets of Charlottesville seeking to bridge the gap in understanding by removing the dental bridges of others, led by the ghoulish specter of white supremacy, emboldened by modern day sensibilities. White men with eyes and torches aflame, their caustic rhetoric burning everything in their path, including their own tradition of hateful anonymity.

These men have work this morning and give a fuck they surely do not. What did I get up to on the weekend?

 

 

The primary problem that handcuffs the postmortem of Charlottesville is the newly centrist Donald Trump. He was notably disappointed in both sides, but his lack of an admonishment to the nuevo-Reich, the brown-shirted collective, replete with beer hall bellies, and arms raised above the horizontal, chanting Heil Trump was notable, as was his silence toward the comments of white power-plant David Duke, who unequivocally stated that the cracking violence “fulfills the promises of Donald Trump” sans the requisite flambeing by the hoisin of irony. To be fair, after Donald slept on it, he’s come out on Twitter to criticize these actions, but the fact that his daughter beat him to it is background. The mixed signals emanating from the White House exacerbates the split, as the stern shake of the pinkie at the Klan interspersed with a thumbs-up forms a shaka of complicity.

The same goes for our Malcolm in the middle. Faced with a fork in the road, Malcolm Turnbull decided to set up camp on the grass underneath the sign. He decided not to decide. And, yes, on the surface it seems a lazy comparison. Violent Nazis aren’t clogging the streets of Australia, charging Dodge Chargers into the innocent; but the very surreptitious, soft-shoe tap approach of sticky taping anti-marriage equality propaganda on telephone poles in the dark of night makes our hate a different color.

In the years past, I would have blithely strolled past this gnashing beast, not pausing to wonder whose blood dripped from the staccato spasms of its carnivorous jaws. But now, I’m unable to push it beyond my peripheral vision. The ugliness is too caustic, too visceral, and I can’t help but gaze at its cross stitched eyeball and articulate every coursing vein. The pseudo military issue boots of Charlottesville, who shouldered arms to make a point share one with the sensibly polished sensible footwear of Canberra. They march to the same cadence, leathered heels firmly planted on the jugular of political indifference, kicking down the longstanding perches where the undecided once flocked to pose and preen.

 

 

In 2017, the idea of the noble political silence is obsolete. Not saying no is the same as saying yes. Those who don’t care either way are merely the meat in a Malcolm Turnbull/Donald Trump sandwich. Sadly, Dubya’s famous platitude of “us versus them” now makes complete sense. Example: How you feel about Dick Smith inventing a locally made and owned anti-immigration platform, voiced by the guy who was the grim reaper in the notorious 1980’s anti-AIDS campaign?

 

 

Either or, it’s best we pick a side my fellow centrists, as our time here is coming to an end.

 

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