Published on Webdiary - Founded and Inspired by Margo Kingston (/cms)

Christa Schwoebel on why she's Not Happy, John!

By Margo Kingston
Created 24/09/2007 - 13:28

Hello. On Saturday night I was a guest at a Not Happy, John! event at the Wauchope Arts Hall [1], hosted by my friend Susie Russell [2], a Webdiarist [2] who is standing for the Greens against Mark Vaile in Lyne. The only other competitor to Vaile, Labor's James Langley [3], came along. We sat in a circle and relayed why we became Not Happy, John in prose, songs and performance, before tossing around ideas for the campaign. Wonderful! The first person to have a say was Christa Schwoebel, of Kempsey [4]. She recited a piece she had written inspired by the play Vagina Monologues [5], which I publish below.  

The Canberra launch of Still Not Happy, John! will be at 5.30pm on Monday 8 October at Manning Clarke House [6]. It will be hosted by my friend Kerrie Tucker [7], and John Valder [8] will speak. Hope to see a few Canberra Webdiarists there. The flier is here [8].

Monologue about Democratic Participation

by Christa Schwoebel

When Howard appears on the telly, my hand can’t get fast enough to the “off” button. A lot of my friends abuse the box every time John or George are on the news.  Quite often I throw my slippers at the telly  …  and that’s been the extent of my democratic participation for years.  

Yeah, I had been more active in the past; went to marches and vigils, wrote letters to politicians and to the papers.

Then, 4 years ago now, I went to the Peace Rally before the invasion of Iraq.  There was a huge crowd - never before had there been so many people protesting in Kempsey.

But Honest John said we were all stupid   

Funny that – about stupid people protesting.  Every single person with tertiary education must have been at that rally.  

John said that however many marched in the streets and however loud we screamed, he wouldn’t pay any attention, he wouldn’t listen.   

I bet he now wishes he’d listened! Secretly.

After he brushed us off like a bit of fluff on his lapel, I didn’t say much anymore, hardly spoke to anyone about politics.   

Howard and his ministers sent soldiers into Iraq.  In my name they are participating in a brutal invasion and war.   

Too much “collateral damage” to take in.

My brain and in my belly became empty hollows.  I just closed down.

As I said, there had been a time when I wrote to politicians.  Like, I wrote to the Minister for Immigration, Ruddock.  It was, about the concentration camps for those poor bastards from the boats.  Didn’t call them concentration camps, of course, gotta be careful with words when you write to somebody as sensitive as Mister Ruddock.  I think he used to call them “Welcome, Mate, to our Fair Country Centres”.   

Anyway, as replies to my letters I got bundles of glossy brochures giving me a good rundown on the government policies.  I felt very guilty that they had to cut down trees for paper and spend so much tax payers money for all those explanations.  So I stopped writing.

But then, late last year, he went too far - when he came back from a visit to George Bush suddenly stating that Global Warming was indeed happening and immediately told us his solution: nuclear power!   

Nuclear power?  Nuclear – in the land of sunshine?  Nuclear as in atom bomb?  

He announced that the country would have a public debate about it.   But, in the same breath he declared that everyone with an opinion different from his was “stupid”, “juvenile”, “uninformed” and “behind the times”.   

Every school kid knows that only those resolve to insults who have no valid contribution to the debate.   

And he had called me stupid again!

It jolted me out of my daze.  A kind of fury came over me, the constructive type.   

I don’t feel like fluff anymore, I’ve become an activist again.  Joined a group.  Organise public events to really debate the issues.  I speak about the government's lies at every opportunity I get.   

I even went to the APEC protests with a group of very respectable women [8]. 

Now I just feel sorry for him.   

I still throw my slippers and I speak out and I vote!

We’ll vote the liar out.

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