Now that the rugby party’s (almost) over – what do we do now? Well, there is our political future to consider – and to play our part.
It was great to see on the victory dias on Sunday, acknowledgement of all those in the All Blacks side who had contributed in some way on or off the field, including the temporarily disabled – Aaron Cruden on crutches; those players unable to physically take part in the contest at all – Dan Carter; and those excluded from the team before the tournament started, but called up later, including the one who kicked the winning goal – Stephen Donald.
It would be great to see a similar attitude in our society – recognising the value of all, regardless of their immediate – or apparent – ability to play the game. And it reflects some of the principles and values promoted through our Social Justice 2011 focus ‘On a level playing field: Fair play and the common good’ – equality, teamwork, participation and inclusion.
As we in New Zealand turn our attention to a contest of a different sort on 26 November, some of those principles are also reflected in the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ election statement on Securing the Common Good: Whakamaua te tikanga pai o te katoa.
‘Participation in the democratic process is important,’ they say. ‘It is vital that you vote.’ Elections are not about considering what will be ‘better for me’, but what will be ‘better for us’. ‘Do political policy options enhance our life together as a community; do they protect the vulnerable; and will they work for the common good of all?’ say the Bishops
For consideration of some of the issues, and to help pose curly questions to political leaders and candidates, check out some of these links:
On welfare changes: The Caritas Guide to the Welfare Debate is available to help people discuss, debate and respond to issues in the 2011 welfare debate.
On aid and development: New Zealand Aid & Development Dialogues with the Global Poverty Project have created an election scorecard you can use to see how well candidates measure up against key principles of good development practice (aid that helps the most needy, aid that builds partnerships, aid that is professional and accountable, and aid that is given transparently). They’ll also be posing the questions to sitting members, with the results on their website here.
Disarmament: Some key questions developed by the joint campaigns on land mines and cluster bombs that you can put to politicians on disarmament are available here.
While the election may not generate as much edge-of-the-seat excitement as the RWC final – it does matter more – and for longer. Or does it?
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Martin de Jong is Communications and International Advocacy Coordinator for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.