I have known OS for many years.  We were students together when I was doing my first degree, but only really got to know each other when both driving taxis out of the Newtown depot in the mid-eighties.

Everyone is unusual (cue: You’re all individuals!).  In OS’s case, that has quite a lot to do with the (in his case) scarring effects of his cradle-Catholicism.  I think he’s cast off the specific doctrines, but the imprint is still deep.

For some reason today our conversation turned to the upcoming election.  OS explained to me that every Federal election was for him a source of anguish as he couldn’t possibly vote for Tanya Plibersek (his local member) unless she divorced that terrible man she was married to.

He explained to me further.  MC-T came from a privileged, conscientious background (OS, too, was educated by the Jesuits though at their less grand Sydney school) and yet he became a heroin dealer.

I tried to remonstrate with OS: it was many years ago; and surely MC-T became a dealer because he himself was a user.  OS was unmoved.  “That’s no excuse.  Taxi drivers were robbed. Houses were broken into.  Old ladies had their handbags snatched.”

I tried again with the line that users often become dealers because of their addiction.  I didn’t bother with broader arguments about the stupidity of the war on drugs and the illicit trade it fosters.  That means I didn’t get to suggesting to OS that MC-T, notwithstanding his many advantages in life, might have been a victim.

I even tried the line that given that he had been punished it wasn’t a question of whether his conduct was inexcusable.

OS stuck to his guns. Yes, MC-T had spent 3 years in gaol but OS didn’t think he’d been punished enough.  OS was too much of a Catholic to say MC-T’s conduct was unforgiveable, but to me his attitude seemed to amount to the same thing:

“No.  It’s inexcusable.  That means I have to vote Liberal.  I can’t vote for her until she divorces that man.”

“But OS,” I said, “Divorce is a sin.”

That won’t have changed his mind.

4 Responses to “Mixed-up”

  1. wanderer Says:

    None so unforgiving as the unforgiven.

  2. Andrew Says:

    I have become used to the idea of people voting for their hip pocket and not being committed to the ideal of a particular party, but this is a rather new one. A strong religious upbringing can really set some people up badly for life.

  3. marcellous Says:

    Indeed, W. “Unforgiven” could well be a better title for this post.

  4. Victor Says:

    Logic goes out the window when religion comes into play.

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