Elections, elections!

What is it about this topic that just gets everyone so riled up? Whenever election time rolls around, it seems every bit of a candidate’s background gets thoroughly investigated and ‘revealed’ to the whole country. So, you couldn’t have done that a little sooner? Say, I don’t know, before they’ve secured the candidacy spot?!

Yes, I’m referring to America, but also to my own country – Australia. I know the political systems in both countries are vastly different, but there are many similarities as well. I’m not saying that I’m by any means an expert or avid follower of politics, but there are some areas that I want to bring up that really rub me in the wrong way. Especially when I do have the right to vote at the next election and will have to choose between two parties, with none that really stand out to me.

The one similarity that I can’t shake off in both candidates within America and Australia is that both opposition leaders do have a past of bullying. Yes, this information was revealed only recently, a few months prior to the election (it’s very sneaky to be honest), but I do stand by the idea that the public has the right to know about the past of anyone that is running for the power to make decisions for a whole country.

Let’s start with Mitt Romney shall we? If you do a google search of ‘Mitt Romney: Bully’, you will be bombarded with a variety of news articles that all say the same thing. He and his friends apparently pinned a boy down in high school, and cut off his long blond hair because Romney didn’t like it, and it felt ‘gay’ to him. His ‘friends’ from Cranbrook (the private high school where the incident occurred) have statements that the incident did occur.

From what I understand, Romney apologised for his ‘hijinks’ although he says that he doesn’t recall the incident. I’m not sure, but as a human being, I would say that a bullying incident like this would leave a pretty long-lasting impression on a person. I still remember when I was bullied in kindergarten! And I know that’s because I was a victim, but Romney wasn’t exactly a child. He’s old, sure, but surely if his friends from back then remember the incident, the actual instigator would remember it as well.

Now onto Tony Abbott. I don’t know about you, but I sure see some similarities here. Two weeks ago, the Australian media was all wild and frantic in reporting about Abbott’s good old days as a bully, which coincidentally, he also cannot recall. Wow, don’t you both just have some very good memories. I’m not worried about that memory retention or anything if you both win enough votes to become President or Prime Minister.

I’m not sure about you, but I definitely do not want a bully (although in the past) as a leader of my country. People may grow up, and yes, Romney’s incident was in high school (lessens the impact a little, but only just. Although you’re a ‘silly’ teenager, it still doesn’t give you a right), Abbott’s bullying incident occurred in university. After he lost  an election. I don’t exactly want to know what would happen if he lost the PM election next year, but I also don’t really want to win.

I know politically speaking, this post does not touch on any of the policies that the candidates raise – especially for all the issues regarding unemployment, our economy, a seat on the UN etc. But having studied psychology, management and public relations – I know quite well that to be a good leader, you first must be a good person. You must put the interests of others ABOVE yourself. In our neoliberal society, good leaders are coming to understand that people are a very important asset. And treating people with dignity and the rights they deserve will get you a long way.

So to Romney and Abbott, I really hope that you learn from your past mistakes. Sure, it may have happened a long time ago, but it’s better to confront and admit your guilt rather than hide behind the facade of memory loss. It fools no one. Why not play the empathy card, and legitimately apologise. Everyone knows people make mistakes, and no one will fault you for a mistake you made when you were in high school or university. But we will if your ‘apology’ is as believable as saying that a live elephant will fit into a car. I believe you can salvage your reputation much more if you just apologise sincerely for your past actions, and no-one will be able to say you weren’t regretful of them.

But right now, I don’t think I can vote for someone that doesn’t seem to care or be able to empathise with others. I want a leader that will do the country proud – someone that want to make the country better for its citizens. Not someone that assume they are better than others and will only care about one half of its citizens.

Get your priorities straight guys, you’re a leader, and every move counts. People will always be watching – even those who don’t follow politics closely.

(Disclaimer: Everything in this post is just my opinion. I am entitled to it. I respect that others also have their own opinions, and I will be happy to discuss them. But if you want to bash/troll, go make your own blog and do it there. I have no time for bullies.)

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