Leave Tony Abbott the fuck alone.
I know. I barely believe I wrote that sentence myself.
I know he's leading the country back into rack and ruin. I know he's a climate change denier. I know he's a hypocritical arse on so many levels. But volunteering as a rural brigade firefighter is not something you can just swan in and do for political point scoring. And to say so devalues the efforts of all firefighters.
Yes all of them. The firefighters out there this week who, by and large, are volunteers, train regularly and vigorously to protect other people from bushfire. And bushfire, as we know, is an inherent part of the Australian landscape. Long before white settlement and long after we all die in a heap because the Liberal party sold our national soul to the Rineharts. And fighting it happens because a large number of people regularly give up their free time to learn how to fight such fires in times of emergency. Like now.
Let me recap for those not following - with a population largely clustered around the coastal areas, which tend to have more trees and grass than say, the desert, fire happens which will impact real people. Sometimes because Mother Nature is a contrary bitch and indiscriminate with her lightning bolts and sometimes because people throw cigarette butts out windows carelessly, thoughtlessly and other times because for some bizarre reason people get kicks out of lighting fires and leaving them to tear through the countryside ruining lives.
However they happen, bush fires are volatile, nasty and quick. They swallow up property and sometimes people without a pause. The firefighters putting themselves out there work in hot, thankless conditions, for days and sometimes weeks on end, leaving behind their real lives, their families, their friends and their homes. In times like now, when bushfire surrounds us, every volunteer firefighter is needed to contribute. And that also means Tony from Davidson Rural Fire Brigade, veteran volunteer firefighter of 13 odd years.
It doesn't matter that he's PM, if he has found time to go wave insignificant hoses at big flames or give some other firefighter backburning a break for even a few hours, he's doing more than the vast majority of us. And if he knows what he's doing, which the evidence says he does, than his contribution is important. The fact that he's an arse, does not mean his contribution is any less valuable, any less worrying for his family and friends or any less useful. And if being PM, his presence draws attention to the individuals out there fighting the fires, well bully for him.
He didn't snapchat the media a message from the back of a fire engine or hanging from a burning bush and say HEY LOOK SEE I AM OFF TO SEE IF I CAN STOP ME SOME FIRE, any more than any of the other firefighters snapchat the local media from the back of a fire engine or hanging from a burning bush and say HEY LOOK SEE I AM OFF TO SEE IF I CAN STOP ME SOME FIRE. It's just what they do. And for that, we should be, ALL OF US, very thankful to the men and women that have spent so many hours volunteering with their local fire brigades to be prepared for situations like NSW finds itself facing now.
Even if it is Tony.
Very very thankful.