Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A definition of madness

I think my friends and I live in a bubble of being confident in change for universal progress rather than complacency for unfair profit
Frustrated Voter, well, me actually

This year I was given no choice in the political leaders, the political policies, the political candidates or the media coverage I had to endure for the Federal Election.

Everything was given to me by the Boys Club.

I, for one, am no longer interested in the political leaders endorsed by the Boys Club, the political policies created by a room full of alumni of the Boys Club, the candidates who are created and approved by having to work through the ranks of the Boys Club to get pre-selection and the media coverage that assumes that we all love the Boys Club and their ideas and their methods.

It's boring, and at the moment I have no way to vote outside the Boys Club.

I was once told that the definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. So if I wish to see political change in Australia, I conclude that I must have the chance to vote for a set of political parties, candidates and policies in the next Federal Election that do not stem from the Boys Club.

The fact that there is only one woman in the current Australian Cabinet is one of the many symptoms of the problem at the heart of the Australian political system and its concept of merit and competency. Our political system simply cannot cope with diversity of candidates - and that is the fault of the system, not the fault of diversity. Diversity is ever-present and requires systems to improve, not retreat. Diversity engenders growth and change.

If candidates are judged on levels of competency based on hundreds of years of narrowly selective concepts, candidates are going to be judged inequitably against inappropriate standards. Any candidates who not fit the standards of the historically successful candidate will suffer discrimination. Divergence in age, gender, education, ethnicity, ability, residency status, religion, politics, gender identity or sexuality will restrict diversity in candidates.

Once a significant number of candidate diverge from the narrowly selective norm for a historically successful candidate, under-representation becomes visible, along with the defensive arguments that diverse and divergent candidates in the system are not good enough to succeed, rather than looking at why the system does not allow diverse and divergent candidates to succeed.

Systems are just tools, they should react and change with the user. But our systems are not changing with the population that use them, as evident by under-representation of varied proportions of our population in almost every area of public and private life. The systems are wrong, not the diversity of the population trying to use them. The problem lies in the concept that there are only a few measures of merit and competency that political candidates within the Australian political system are held to.

Those measures of merit and competency are academic or workforce related currently, and thus heavily skewed towards male candidates seeing as those communities were historically only open to now dead, white female candidates in Australia since the 1880s. We know for other parts of our population, candidacy was only open much later. The academic and corporate communities were created for now dead, white men, by now dead, white men and their measures of assessing candidates do not represent modern measures that accurately assess the current population of citizens looking to be political candidates and the current social conception of education and enfranchisement.

The standard of judging candidates by narrow academic or corporate competencies that were conceived hundreds of years ago in other countries and societies need to be reconsidered and widened. We have entire populations of non-white, currently alive men and women who are educated, enfranchised, working in different fields and ready to participate in legislation, ready to bring modern and innovative ideas to government. And they shouldn't have to match standards of competency that were never and are not relevant to them, their population or their candidacy.

The communities of academia and the corporate workforce were built in Australia by now dead, white men based on European communities built over thousands of years by now dead men. They continue to drag their feet in implementing appropriate changes to allow those communities to grow and evolve and include the more progressive and innovative needs of the non-white, currently alive male and female population. Changes that will make sure candidates other than white men can participate and succeed without having to lower their standards and performance to match the narrow set of requirements now dead, white men historically considered sufficient.

The ability of the white, currently alive male candidates in those communities today to meet the standards set hundreds of years ago are based on presumptions of supporting social conditions that don't exist anymore. As a result of the historical lag between population change and academic and corporate change, the standards in those communities for white, currently alive male candidates are low, limiting of innovation and restrictive of change. Once standards of competency are widened to embrace the varied population we have, innovation will flow because we are working up and away from the archaic and anachronistic baseline of now dead, white male standards for candidates.

For almost every candidate who is not a white male in Australia, the innovation needed to measure standards and performance that surpass the past now dead, white male standards is what makes them progressive voices in stagnant, tradition-bound communities. And for legislation in areas in which academic or corporate targets are simply inappropriate to apply, what is needed is the candidates who do not come out of those communities.
Forbes Magazine reporting on Diversity on Company Boards here.
Fighting Winter with Summer
I credit the 1% with being fully aware of the impending water and energy conflicts, and it is clear from their actions that they are taking the requisite steps to survive while preventing the population from taking the same steps. Unfortunately their pride and entitlement will never allow them to consider the fact that their place in the 1% means nothing to the environment. Water and energy do not obey, and never have obeyed, the forces of nations, economies and capitalism.
Anyone who thinks they can argue for 21st Century Climate Aware action with 20th Century Climate Ignorant ideologies is going to be pulled back into historical patterns of conflict and paralysis, which is exactly where the Government and their corporate partners want their population.
Ask for me tomorrow
The current Australian Government makes announcements that destabilise the news cycle, and these announcements come in two forms:

1. An outrageous suggestion designed to let opponents react with scorn and satire, but neither suggestion nor satire achieves anything but noise, and a false sense of protest for those who did not vote for this current Australian Government.

2. A very real threat that opponents cannot ignore, but is sure to be withdrawn or watered down once it has short circuited the news cycle and wasted the time and resources of those who did not vote for this current Australian Government.

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