Sunday, November 11, 2007

Separation of Church and State

It is two weeks until the Australian Federal Election. As an outside observer, who works with some very politically passionate people, it seems to me that there will likely be a change in government. Not necessarily because Labor is better, but because it's different. 11 years of Liberal government has led them to be sloppy in their campaign. Polls have consistently shown Labor up by a statistically significant margin.

I initially drew the comparison to the US parties. Labor = Democrats, Liberal = Republicans. (Took a while to get that Liberal != Democrats) Using the analogies above, I assumed that I would be a Labor voter, as I tend to be a Democrat back home, but I haven't found the Labor party to be enticing in the same ways as the Democrats. And though at a fundamentals level these may be a reasonable comparisons, there is one primary difference between the parties here and those back home: the party lines are drawn on moral issues in the US.

In the states, I vote Democrat because I am pro-choice, I believe in teaching safe sex in classrooms, I believe in evolution, I support gay marriage. All moral issues, that in Australia do not define the parties. Other than a vague idea of big government vs. small government, I don't have a good sense of what really separates the parties in the US besides these moral issues.

In a way, I'm grateful to be currently living in a country where those moral decisions don't plague the government. But in another way, it makes me far less passionate about a horse to back in this election. Are they really all that different?


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