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September 17, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Editorial – Politicool

It was spring 2008. We were rosy- cheeked, somewhat-less-than-pretty 16 year-olds. By the end of November, the rosy-cheeked Labour would suffer defeat at the hands of the somewhat- less-than-pretty Key-led National. We couldn’t know it at the time—Asher was barely numerate and struggled with polls (“What do you mean, margin of terror?”), and Ollie always read even the most damning of statistics with reality-defying optimism (“It’s all relative, ya see!”).

That election was our political ‘awakening’, so to speak, though that could be an overstatement. We weren’t so much awake as trapped in the snooze-button, nap, snooze-button, nap cycle that we are so well practiced at.

School was abuzz with ‘political discussion’, best characterised as a vitriolic paraphrasing of whatever had been overheard at the dinner table the preceding evening. Ollie’s school was stricken by the divide between the racist motor-cross riders from Motueka and the bleeding-heart SUV-greenies of down-town Nelson, while at Asher’s place of ‘learning’ the walls might as well have been painted blue.

Much of those early forays in the world of politics were fraught with naïveté and the happy confidence it begets. Beliefs were a reaction against peers, parents or teachers, or else an exercise in parroting the very same. Though we had no idea what we were on about, we knew we believed in it all very strongly.

Then change happened, as it unfortunately tends to do. It was time for university and we found ourselves intermingling with the most disconcerting of types—those who disagree. It was the stock-standard first-year phenomenon. At university, people actually knew about these kinds of things, see; they devoted degrees to its study and drunken evenings to its debate. It was all too much for our frail partisan identities.

And we were shown—very swiftly— just how easily our certain beliefs are made uncertain. The waters were permanently muddied, and doubt was now the norm. While there is little in the world of politics that one can be sure about, there are a few things that we have deduced over these years. These are are decidedly and eternally true:

A strong military is a strong military.

Barack Obama.


Children are the future.

Our assets are our assets.

The environment is important.

So is the economy.

Aunty Helen is in fact not biologically everyone’s aunty.

— Don’t be a Partisan Hack. Vote for your intellectual dignity. Vote Salient. —

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About the Author ()

Ollie served dutifully alongside Asher Emanuel as Co-editor of Salient throughout the tumult of 2012. He has contributed to Salient since 2011 and intends to do so for the rest of his waking life.

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