Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Bob Hawke writes in today’s Oz on the 25th anniversary of his first election victory –
Bob Hawke says national reconciliation is a great asset for Kevin Rudd and that Australians are sick of polarization and confrontation, just as they were in 1983.
"I think the nation was tired of the confrontation that characterised the Howard government," Hawke says in his Sydney office.
"People were sick of that. I think Rudd has tapped into a vein and I think he is genuinely committed to it."
Irrespective of whether you believe Rudd is genuine in his appeal to reconciliation rather than confrontation, in the short term at least, it has been a more productive strategy. It harnesses hope and compassion rather than fear and materialism, and seems no less effective.
From a personal perspective, I’ve learned that reconciliation is difficult (and sometimes risky), but worthwhile in the long run. I’ve never understood the appeal that fear and loathing hold for some conservative commentators.
The pursuit of possessions and status carries with it a risk of alienation. Rather than fighting like cornered cats to hold what they’ve accumulated, the so-called aspirational middle class is as likely to downshift to attempt to escape to a time and place where relationships and self-actualization are possible.
Across the Pacific, Obama has tapped into the same rich vein.
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