Let's stop making excuses for our politicians' poor behaviour

Bad behaviour by the world's politicians shouldn't be excused because of 'whataboutism'. Photo: Edited

Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery is an attempt to discredit an opponent’s opinion by using the old ‘what about X he did it too’, or ‘there are also Y cases where the same happened’. At the same time there is no attempt to show there is any falsehood to the opponent’s argument.

Mention something United States president Donald Trump has done that is unpleasant and there will be hundreds of ‘what about…’ but no attempt to say if his behaviour was right or wrong.

Talk about a group like the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children and immediately there is ‘what about other children who…’ If the stolen generation are compensated for wrongs done then it creates a precedence where other groups can fight for compensation as well.

We have it now with Barnaby Joyce, all the whataboutism coming onto posts.

Countries like the old Soviet Union used whataboutism to deflect criticism by citing an example of the same or similar behaviour in the West.

Ad. Article continues below.

The argument by some seems to be any immorality, criminality or violence from their side is forgivable if someone else from an opposing side has done it before or is doing it now. You can’t pay compensation to Group A because you didn’t pay it to Group B.

The war crimes or terrorism from one group is deflected by the actions of another without the complete unified condemnation it deserves.

How about we all just stop.

If something is wrong, immoral or needs to be fixed, let’s just address it.

Forget that others may have done something similar. In most cases their actions were publicised or addressed at the time. It may not have been to our satisfaction but it happens.

Ad. Article continues below.

Can we all just concentrate on the issue before us and address that. In doing so it may be that previous actions by others are looked into again and action against them is then taken, or it may be another group is recognised as deserving of compensation for the wrongs done.

I’d love to see a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (IUCAC) that takes the politics out of investigations, rather than leaving it in the hands of a government unable to act due to a one seat majority.

If we have to have whataboutism how about we focus on the examples where condemnation was strong, sackings were made, and just punishment was meted out.

what do you think about the increasing use of whataboutism? Are there other examples where you have seen it used?

Want to go in the draw to win some great prizes? It’s as easy as putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and sharing your thoughts with other 60-pluses. Sign up as a contributor and submit your stories to Starts at 60 here, and join the Starts at 60 Bloggers Club on Facebook here to talk to other writers in the Starts at 60 community and learn more about how to write for Starts at 60.