This will be a long post.
I have spent the last 72 hours working towards a Labour government. Prior to that - four months of electioneering, door knocking, phone canvassing, discussions, sign waving, debating, putting my heart and soul out on the line.
Yet... all of it wasnt enough.
1 Million people didn't vote.
Sure we were able to get more people to vote. But that overwhelming figure of that many people feeling disenfranchised, not interested in politics, how our government and country is run, the many insights and horrible new awakenings into the dirty politics... still stopped people from voting.
I have spent the entire day today at a complete loss. In between tears of anger, sadness, frustration and loss - I have tried to think what else I could have done. How much more we could have done. How much harder we could have worked.
From the beginning before we had the Labour Lounge and were phone callling from the First Union Building. From when I first met Tamati and Tim at the Kuirau Park Markets and offered my support in helping to build Young Labour in Rotorua.
From when there was still so much time to go...
And now. We're here.
I talked with my fellow Team Tamati volunteer members last night and we all felt that same loss. The hard work foiled by the stupidity of a nation that can't see past immediate return. The hard work messed up by a nation that is unwilling to engage in a healthy discussion of politics in order to help turn our country around.
It worries me to no end that National are once more back in power. Power is a mighty thing and any who holds it should be careful how they wield it. Unfortunately - we know how power can become corrupt. As a history teacher at my very depths of my soul - I see it. I can feel it encrouching upon this very blog post. This may sound like pure paranoia - but it is ignorance to think we are not being watched.
Everything I post is always written so that I maintain my own integrity and that of my students, their families, our school and our community. However when something as catastrophic as this happens - it is incredibly difficult to stand aside and let it happen.
I keep thinking about Gordon Dietrich in V for Vendetta under the Sutler government. How soon until power becomes absolute and we no longer have a say. Not long I believe.
Regardless, I think it's time I make some decisions around what I teach and how. Our students need to be aware of what is going on around them. Only so much reminders about the importance of being involved by reading the news and reading between the lines in news stories will actually work. I keep hearing people say we need to teach civics in schools. As far as I know - we do.
Hearing cynicsm at school around politics isn't good either - it breeds room for inequality and the thinking that their vote doesn't actually matter.
Our students need to see what fires us up. They need to know what is our absolute bottom line. They need to know that everyone has their own opinion and what's more - that it's our right to speak out.
They also need to know that when we do have differing opinions we still need to find a way to work together.
And this - this is what I'm struggling to remind myself. Because there is no way that he represents me as PM. None.
And I am struggling to see how he would be chosen once again to 'lead' our country.
I struggle to think how exactly I am to show face at school after saying to colleagues that I would "lose my s***" if his team got back in. And I still feel like that. Yet - I feel the passion in my heart depleting and know that I am going to be walking around without that fire and wairua in my step tomorrow. Because we have another three years ahead of us to fight again.
As I said on Twitter last night:
Every good warrior needs a defeat before they can fight even harder the next time.
Unfortunately - this is my first true defeat as a member of the fight.
And seeing the tears in friends eyes last night - particularly of those who do not show emotion often... is even harder. Knowing that we gave it our everything and it still wasn't enough.
The words " It's all wrong..." continue to run through my head.
Because it is. And three more years is only going to increase the gap between rich and poor, increase the digital divide, continue to ruin our education and health systems... Immediate return may look good for now, but I for one am worried for the next coming generations who will have to deal with what we have left for them. I really do hope that they will not be as greedy and selfish as an apparent 'majority' of NZers were as results came through last night.
We need to fight again. But for now... continued rest and relaxation. It will be a long fight this time and won that we will undoubtedly win.