And other political reflections….
I know I depart from a good many peeps I care a lot about in the shape of my anger over this. I’m not gonna slate anyone for their opinion in fact I’m pretty proud that, for the most part (bar a few), the points of difference amongst my friends and relations have been held respectfully and up front with each other.
Kinda like when a good mate tells you up front that you got a booger on your lip. Or when they smack you upside the head for making them worry.
I was once a paid Green member and that was the FIRST time I paid for any political membership but that feels like a long time ago now. Still – even though I cancelled my Green membership over a year ago, for the most part I considered them political mates.
So I yelled at the screen when I saw Metiria’s admission. What pissed me off the most was that, at 12%, (at the time) they seemed to genuinely be doing well. I really thought this was the year for them. I was seeing Greens, Mana, Māori reining in a Labour government and was genuinely optimistic about what we could achieve for the next few years, maybe even push for Treaty based constitutional reform that could eventuate in long term, sustainable justice (rather than 4-8 year bouts of policy that gets undone when the swing and roundabout cycles around).
I yelled at the screen the same way I do when I see someone I have expectations of do something damn honourable and damn reckless not just for themselves but for many. And even though I saw our peeps in droves saying “yes, I’m in poverty and THANKYOU for what you’ve said” what I still wanted even more was for Greens to be IN POWER for them.
(And before anyone even thinks to utter privilege stfu I’ve slept in a skate ramp, by the side of the road, on a bus bench, on public transport, had $2 to my name and no job and no roof over my head enough times to know that reality).
I also yelled at the screen cause I remembered all the studies done on representations of Maori in media and how we are hounded and the feeling inside my tummy was foreboding. I hoped that they knew what they were doing and had some ace up their sleeve – but I feared they didn’t, and with every media attack that foreboding turned to anger.
There were elements of white saviourism and indigenous risk that I couldn’t get past with the Greens, so my vote was leaning more towards those that could help them more in that area. For that same reason didn’t care much about two less OWM on the green waka but when they left I was angry again because I knew what that meant for the baying media hounds.
And I was angry not just for the diminishing opportunity to provide better care for those in poverty – but because Greens have always had the most robust environmental policies and we so need them… We bloody need Denise Roche and her waste policies. We need Marama Davidson and her baby gooeyness and messy couch realness. After so many years of swimming against a right wing tide our arms are TIRED (I should be a bloody size 10) and I think, with Greens, Mana and Māori in govt we could have had some real gains for Papatuanuku in exciting ways. I was angry that this was slipping away. Angry that it was even placed at risk.
And when it clicked that Greens had betrayed their MOU… I felt weirdly gutted. “Weirdly” because it was Labour they betrayed and Labour has betrayed us so often. But still – gutted. Because integrity matters and when you enter into a partnership you honour it, not use it to bleed your partner (regardless of who it is). That triggered memories of every time a well-intentioned green organisation screwed indigenous people over – and it actually got me to the point where I didn’t even feel like voting. I’m going to vote, and then I’m going to get straight back to working on reducing whanau vulnerability to this system. We have survived a lot, we will survive even the worst outcome (and can still pray/vote for the best).
But for now… I’m STILL angry. I’m feeling for those who have had hopes dashed tonight. I’m angry that the media won. I can’t possibly blame you for putting your whanau first now that it’s come to this, Metiria.
But someone in the Green camp is giving shit campaign advice. If we ain’t gonna call that then we ain’t good mates.