I know this is off-topic but I've got to get it off my chest, OK?
I may be imagining things, but have you noticed the alacrity with which 'parents' seem to be thrusting their clueless sprogs - who don't even have the wit to poo, pee or projectile vomit when the occasion demands - into the outstretched arms of our 'leaders' out pestering the flesh this election?
But no, that's not really the subject of my gripe because I've noticed a far more disturbing trend, something quite pathological actually, which seems to afflict people who've probably never even experienced the transforming joy of meeting a pollie in a mall, people whose kids are most probably off their hands, people with the time and energy to read newspapers and write to their editors for Pete's sake. In fact, I've even invented a name for it - protect a politician syndrome. This bizarre behaviour is characterised by an irrational urge to coddle politicians and shield them from imagined threats, as opposed to the perfectly rational desire to curse the narcissistic bastards and throttle the living daylights out of them.
Take a look at this letter from yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald for example:
"Why has Channel Nine employed Mark Latham? His confrontation with Julia Gillard clearly crosses just about every boundary we have ever seen in an election. I doubt whether he would have had the courage to pull off such a a stunt had he not been employed by the network. I have to wonder at the motives of the executives in hiring the ultimate political loose cannon." (Paul Whiting, Tamworth)
There were 5 other letters in like vein on the same letters page!
Yesterday's Australian was no better:
"If a known and certifiable loony with Mark Latham's form had been allowed to get as close to Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin and treat them so disrespectfully, they would have been briskly whisked off to some dark prison and given a painful lesson in manners. Perhaps we have a bit to learn about prime ministerial security." (Richard Sallie, Nedlands, WA)
Then there was this directed at the 7.30 Report's Kerry O'Brien in the comments section of its website:
"Still fuming after such disgraceful treatment of the PM who maintained her composure under rude, hectoring, interrupting, trivial and personal questioning. Kerry needs to badly learn some manners, and to stop posturing, as if he is God Almighty... The ABC should pull O'Brien into line." (Colin Smith, 10/8/10)
Paul, Richard, Colin: seriously guys, you need help.
Mark & Kerry: ramp it up!