The beginning of November is starting to get an auspicious feel about it, don’t you think? Not only is the season changing, those of us sick of politics may be able to breathe again. Sunshine — and a world without that twittering orange idiot — would be good. If the state premiers here in Oz could also shut up then that would be double-plus good. It fills your head, all their self-absorbed parroting, and it’s everywhere. I suspect most people don’t give two shits about politics. Bring on the summer rains.
I like politics, but mostly the kind that doesn’t occur in the corridors of power. Politics skulk in the lowest of human affairs, provided there’s a power hierarchy at play. For example, I had a conversation yesterday with a colleague (let’s call her Nora) who has suffered an ironic reversal: after months of privately raging against perceived gender injustices, Nora has been sucked into the vortex of a sexual discrimination investigation. Nora’s sole topic of conversation now is self-preservation, a rueful dissertation on fidelity, and how honesty is not always the best policy.
Politics in the workplace can be fun if you’re not actually a player. No thespian, the art of dissembling is not among my skills. While I enjoy tinkering about the edges (subtle push here, gentle nudge there) I couldn’t slip into Amy Coney Barrett’s skin, for example, and tell bare-faced lies about my plans for Roe v Wade. I have made (and underlined) a mental note on the whistleblower’s fate, and would not willingly be hoist by my own petard. And while I don’t feel sorry for Nora, I don’t exult in her poetic justice either. We’re both on the same boat, riding into a storm. All it takes is one direct question and I’m flotsam just like her.
But flotsam is not always jetsam. The turncoat’s rule should be that if you’re going to backstab the boss, then drive the knife deep. Let’s call our boss Bill. I’ve yet to meet a Bill who isn’t vengeful, and despite sexual discrimination being the flavour of the decade, once-upon-a-time our particular Bill was kissed on the dick by a fairy and in all probability will ride this out. I am definitely hedging my bets on Bill. While I would answer a direct question about Bill, as someone who spent more than a decade jousting in the courts for a living, I question the calibre of the investigators generally, and more specifically their capacity to ask the right direct question/s.
Our corporate motto mentions justice, but could be amended to the latin equivalent of “better the devil you know”. This investigation won’t topple the boss, but it may expose a hissing nest of viperous malcontents whose real grievance is that our current boss is not as easily manipulated as the last one. That fool (let’s call him Brett) suffered from a white knight complex in that he wanted to rescue all the damsels in distress, and was putty in the hands of any female employee with a tear in her eye. I witnessed the growing queue of supplicants at his door, and while I don’t want to speculate what Brett got out of all this, I do recall his bin was always full of tissues.
By comparison, throughout Brett’s reign any male who walked in with a problem would be shown the door, or end up with his head on a stake to deter others. Class action launched against Brett for sexual discrimination against his male workers? Fuck no. They sucked it up in silence. So blink away your bitter tears, Nora. Maybe you’ve become a little self-absorbed. The universe does not exist with you at its centre and never did, despite what Bretty told you. To put it another way, the honeymoon is over baby, it’s never gonna be that way again. To put it another other way, it always rains in November.