A political box of chocolates

Rosalie's Writings
with Rosalie Liddle Crawford

We’re halfway through the year and I was wondering what’s happened with everybody’s New Year resolutions? Did they fly out the window on January 2?

What we really need is a random New Year’s resolution generator. There would be four columns to choose actions and subjects from.  

For example the first column would have words like ‘stop’, ‘start’, ‘avoid’, and ‘try’. Column two could have ‘shouting’, ‘sobbing’, ‘saying ‘it is what it is’’, and ‘freestyle napping’. Column three would have ‘during’, ‘loudly at’, and ‘when tweeting about’, and column four would have words like ‘rodeos’, ‘Tom Hanks movies’ and ‘karaoke’.

Then you just select one from each, resulting in resolutions like ‘stop quoting ABBA when complaining about grandpa’s stories’, or ‘Keep  saying ‘it is what it is’ when tweeting about politics’.

These seem far more sensible New Year’s resolutions than most of our efforts to better ourselves and constrain our more unhealthy habits.

Random generators could also be used for political party slogans. This would surely turn out something more inspiring than this year’s crop of visionary statements?

We have ‘Let’s Keep Moving’ which could be a great commercial for prunes and movements in general. Then there’s ‘Strong Team. More Jobs. Better Economy.’ The three full stops are serious ‘pause and think’ moments, probably designed to make us pause and think. The off-ramp to more jobs and a better economy is, we are told, a strong team. I wouldn’t disagree with that. Success comes from sticking together and to do anything else is to invoke disaster.

But wait there’s more

We also have ‘Your Nation. Your Voice’, ‘Think Ahead, Act Now’, ‘Change Your Future’, ‘Back Your Future’, ‘Believe in You. Believe in Me’, and ‘Vote Different’.

I now need to consider whether I change my future, back my future, keep my future, think about my future, believe in myself and/or be the change that makes the future. I’m still waiting for someone to choose my favourite slogan of all time ‘Carving the Future’ or ‘Whakairo Apopo’. That would satisfy my inner artist as well as envision me for tomorrow.

With repetition though, all these party slogans could be memorised and used for a New Zealand version of Trump’s cognitive test. Come Election Day on September 19, while being bamboozled with political party choices, we could be assured we all still have sound minds by acing a cognitive impairment test on party slogans. For those who are not sure, the slogan with the word ‘act’ in it doesn’t belong to the party by the same name. Don’t panic! You can still ace this!

Box of chocolates

Politics can be like a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you’ve selected one and then too late you find out it’s not quite what you were expecting or promised. There’s the shiny macadamia clark cycle rapture – it has generous chunks of nothing with a thin layer of excuses. Then there’s the chewy jamie satin crème - a sweet outer coating with bitter aftertaste. Nestled next to that chocolate is the falloon almond cluster which is endlessly bland and largely unsatisfying. Following up with that are some often tasteless, yet remarkably addictive reality fruity delights topped with crushed dreams.

As well as wondering what has happened to everybody’s New Year resolutions, I was also wondering what has happened to the Tauranga Community Engagement Charter, signed by a bunch of local Tauranga City Council candidates prior to the local elections last year. Is it working or not working? Past consultations like the one-way system proposed for the Mount in 2017 and turned down by Mount residents appears to have resurfaced with the new working title ‘Innovating Streets’ for ‘Mount North’.

On first glance it seems to be the same cycle loop idea dressed up with a spiffy new title. Why Mount Maunganui north? One reason given is that, instead of staying home, people cycling during the lockdown increased by 277 per cent. Basing a future decision partly on behaviour of people during a global pandemic that we hope is never repeated hardly seems sound thinking, however the public, that’s you and me, are invited to be part of a Community Design Group ‘who will play an important role to guide the development of this project’.  

For those caught up in the more concerning daily traffic jam causality loops around Tauranga, life still seems to be one cycle of traffic not moving, followed by the decision of better roads that will speed up traffic, followed by road works slowing down traffic, followed by traffic not moving. A great cycle of modern living experienced in a jam of cars and trucks.

If you’ve been looking skyward this week in the hope of fresh vision and dreams, political or otherwise, you may have spotted a soft smudge low on the horizon. That’s Comet Neowise passing by, about 103 million km away, streaking off into the depths of the solar system. Onwards and forwards. Now there’s a good slogan.

July 30, 2020


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