Opinion Politics

To The Fence-Sitting Conservative

I want to pen an open letter to many people who are not too far from my side of the yard...
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I want to pen an open letter to many people who are not too far from my side of the yard; the conservative who tips or even heavily leans to the right. I want to encourage you and provoke you to speak up more and share your perspective on what is happening in society right now.

You know who you are. Up until recently, you largely identified with right or centre right, and you found you were best represented by the Liberal Party. You may have even considered it the bastion of protection for conservative values.

You were probably fond of Tony Abbot, believing that he would be a great conservative Prime Minister. And when that turned out to not be as true as you would have liked, you then reasoned away in your own mind how it was necessary for him to move to the left on social and moral issues, to outflank Labor.

Remember he had to outbid Labor’s maternity leave plan, otherwise, we would have got a Labor government that would have spent too much money on social programs. He also had to offer the SSM plebiscite, even though it had continually been shot down in parliament for years, and one could argue it had been settled.

You probably found yourself celebrating the election of a Christian Prime Minister like Scott Morrison, considering him the most obvious Christian choice. Even though his opponent Bill Shorten also claims to be a practising Christian. You looked forward to him leading the country in the way you always hoped Tony Abbott would, while quietly forgetting the fact that Scomo was very close to the Prime Minister many conservatives did not like; Malcolm Turnbull.

Over the last couple of years, you have probably found yourself having more and more doubts about the conservative nature of the normal “right-wing” choice in parliament. So far, you have not seen any of the moves on climate change, social program spending, free speech, or moral issues you would have liked. It’s becoming clearer to you that the blue team doesn’t represent your interests, any more than the red team did. The red team is just more open about it.

If you and I were to sit down and converse over a coffee or a beer we would probably agree on many issues. We would both be concerned over the state of modern education, the anti-western bias in the schools and media, the LGBT-ifying of the Church and wider society.

We would both be concerned about men not stepping up as they should, about the damage being wrought in our society by both parents having to work. Indeed, you and I would agree on many social and religious issues. I lean further to the right than some conservatives, but not all, conservatives just tend to be less vocal about their views.

You have probably been growing more and more concerned about how society is travelling under our current crop of leaders in this Covid limbo our society currently sits in. You probably went into this with a great deal of trust for our Prime Minister, you know, because he is from our team, and you recognized how hard it was for him to lead a nation through such an unknown threat.

You were waiting for him to call a day of national prayer, even just for the Church. But he never did it. And then you were pacified by the leaked video of him asking a few friends to pray. But you have extended him every grace because it is a hard time.

Heck, even those like me who are not great fans of the PM had sympathy for the guy, you could see the stress in his speeches back in March and April. He was navigating a threat none of his contemporaries in Federal politics has had to face. Sympathy for a man you can relate to, going through such a trial, is understandable.

But over time, I suspect you have been growing less sympathetic and more critical of not only our national government but also of the State Premiers response to this virus. At first you probably totally supported them, or at least mostly, and then they allowed the divisive Black Lives Matter marches, pretending there was nothing they could do… when we all know that is not true and is being proven more recently by how they are treating other proposed marches. You started to get really concerned about the inconsistencies. What good citizen wouldn’t?

And the way they are handling the virus, and the changing goal posts?

It went from flattening the curve to flipping almost overnight to being about case numbers and eradicating the virus. You probably were horrified at what was happening in Victoria, and for how long the Prime Minister supported it. Indeed, you have been concerned for some time now how quickly many of our state and federal leaders took to authoritarian positions, and how far some have gone.

You have noticed more and more, what some of us were saying way back in March: the response doesn’t appear to match the threat. You don’t want them to do nothing at all, but you are concerned at how our society is going to come out of these governmental suppressions of economic activity. Not because you think money is more important than people, but because you understand how people are provided for, and how damaging these lockdowns will be down the road.

I suspect you have been starting to speak out about this in private, indeed, I know some of you have because some people like yourself speak to me. You may have even started to talk about this stuff online, in subtle ways. In ways that don’t get you labelled outside the mainstream discourse, but still allow you to show that you are not fond of our government’s response.

I personally have had people like yourself message me stuff, that they would not share online, not because that stuff is bad, or immoral, but simply because it means sharing a perspective on the government overreach, the virus, vaccines, Bill Gates, the WHO, etc, etc, that will get you labelled by people you respect in a certain way.

You don’t think Billy is the anti-Christ, but you are concerned about how much influence a tech billionaire has over vaccines being developed right now, that some leaders are planning to make their citizens get. This is a valid concern. Why does a tech mogul have so much say in a health issue? Why is it conspiratorial to talk about such a situation? It is reasonable to question this. 

You are not an anti-vaxxer, and when you post something about vaccination, you are always careful to make this statement. I get why there is so much shame pedalled in our society that criticizing vaccination in any way can get you labelled by much of mainstream society in a way you don’t want to be labelled.

Never mind that there are advanced nations in the world (Japan and Finland for instance), that give parents complete control over how they vaccinate their children. But here in Australia, you risk becoming a wildebeest without a herd for just questioning anything publicly.

I understand your reticence. But I believe that reticence was jilted massively by our Prime Minister suggesting that he would make “as mandatory as possible” a vaccine that is derived from a line using aborted foetal cell cultures. Overnight something became public knowledge that was just the day before considered fringe knowledge and “conspiracy” opinion.

You’ve probably had many similar eye-opening moments during this C0VID year. You have seen society go down a road you never thought possible, and doubly impossible under a conservative government. You have seen the level of corruption in the pharmaceutical company bared open in a way you weren’t fully aware of before. You have seen many of your friends online who you considered quite mainstream in their thoughts, posting stuff which you would have called conspiracy theorist in March, that now you silently nod at, or at least consider more than you once did.

You are sitting on the fence about posting. Maybe you send messages privately to people whom you trust, but you are sitting on the fence about how open to be. I get it, I really do. I respect anyone who is considered in their approach to what they say in the public or online world. I understand you are concerned about how you will be seen at work.

I understand that if you are open in your views people will look at you differently. I understand that it is hard and emotionally, or even financially costly sometimes, to push against the current. But I am willing to bet you are thinking more and more about where we are at as a society and you are concerned about the powers that governments have taken, and how it is being used.

Let me encourage you. You are not alone. I get the occasional private message from people like you, sharing something about vaccines, or government power, or C0VID numbers, etc, etc, often. I keep all those messages private because I respect why people share that way. No one shares all their thoughts with anyone else. This is wisdom.

I am encouraged that there are more and more people out there who are concerned with what is happening in society. Good Aussies, good citizens, who just want to see their nation return to its open and free way of life. People who are peaceable and more than anything just want to be left alone.

The kind of people who don’t go to protests, but who support the rights of protest in a free country. The kind of people that conservatives tend to be. Productive citizens, that want to honour their leaders, even when they don’t agree with them.

I know some of you are considering being more open with your perspective, whether it is with your friends, your church members, your co-workers, or even online. Let me encourage you that the more people who speak up, the more of you that will be encouraged that there are many people out there who agree with you, or think similarly.

The Prime Minister was forced to backtrack on “as mandatory as possible” because people simply spoke up in a reasonable and open way to criticize such a position. This is a great power that we have if we use it wisely.

Different polls have found that conservatives are in general less willing to share their views publicly, let alone on the controversial issues facing our society today. But this is a democracy, and our leaders represent the people, and we have a duty to speak up about how we feel about how they are leading society.

We have a duty to question their approach to any issue. The media might try to shame you, the media might try to mock you. Even our democratic leaders sometimes forget we have the Aussie right to call them out, peacefully, when we see fit.

You are not alone, others agree with you, and every post you make, every time you speak openly, you encourage someone else who thinks as you do. They may not click to like your post, they may stay even silent in person, but you build their morale and cause them to think about speaking up.

Speaking up is an important duty in a free society. Freedom is like a garden, it needs constant tending, or it all goes to weeds. This is our moment to tend the garden, this is our moment to vocally speak up for the principles our nation was founded on.

If you are on the fence about a post, a comment, or thought you would like to share, and it is good, noble, true, and you believe to be important, I would like to hear it. Many of your fellow Aussies I know would agree.


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