It is Australia day today, and it has become my tradition to make some comment on the community in which we live, rather than addressing an issue of commercial sustainability, the main meal for the other 200 odd days on which I post.
What a welcome change, if somewhat depressing for me as I survey the stuff happening around us.
As I re-read the post I did for Australia Day 2016, it is hard to see what I missed, and not a lot has changed, unless for the worse.
In NSW we have a new premier, as of Monday. I have met Ms. Berejiklian on several occasions, and she is a seriously impressive person. However, I am a little concerned that the whole rhetoric has been about ‘her’ government, and ‘her’ priorities, which are clearly different to those of the previous premier, to whom she was the deputy and treasurer. It seems like there has not just been a change of person at the top, but a wholesale change as if she had nothing to do with the previous government, was nothing more than a bystander.
This does bother me, as it is an abrogation of responsibility for the decisions taken and changes made to the lives of many.
Nevertheless, we seem to have it good compared to our septic friends, who had the choice between two equally awful choices last November, and stayed away from the poll booths in droves, and got something they may live to regret by default. Trouble is, the man now in charge of the most powerful military and economy the world has ever seen appears to be an egocentric sociopath with no acquaintance with the truth or any form of consistent values . Will it affect us here on the other side? Who really knows, but I suspect at best we are in for a bit of a hairy ride.
And then I look at Canberra.
Our PM has been a grave disappointment to me. I thought that at last we had someone who knew what it took to make a bob in the private sector, who was independently wealthy, so did not need the pension and trappings that go with the power. At last it seemed, we had a chance of some backbone and principal emerging. No such luck it would appear. But then there is the opposition leader, who seems to have pioneered the political practise of ‘Alternative fact‘ in the election campaign, blatantly lying, repeatedly, about the intentions of the government on Medicare. I guess he can claim if nothing else that the new US president has taken a leaf from his playbook.
We seem to have lost something from my childhood, now a long time ago. A sense of community, that we are all in this together, now it seems it is every man for himself, the rest be buggared. This is reflected in every part of our community, and usually Social Media gets the blame, but I suspect that is too simplistic.
We evolved as a social species because we needed each other, had to trust each other and the group, to survive the depredations of the sabre tooth tigers, weather, and marauding tribes from across the river. Those threats have largely been eliminated, so we have forgotten how to behave, and just blame the poor behaviour on Social media instead of taking the responsibility on our own shoulders. I wonder how we would take a real crisis, one that threatened us as were our fathers and grandfathers in 1939. Hopefully the DNA would kick in and we would again find strength in community.
There seems to have been lots of emotional discussion about the nature of ‘Australia Day’, particularly as it relates to indigenous Australians. It seems forever, but we have only had an official Australia day and holiday on January 26 since the bicentennial in 1988. prior to that there was a mish mash that differed across time and location. I think we should just get on with trying to live together, maintaining the inclusive and tolerant society that made us great. So what if the last 219 years is but a spec on the 60,000 year history of human habitation? Life did change 219 years ago for the then inhabitants, and some terrible things were done, but nowhere near as bad or widespread as has happened many times since in many places around the world, and continue to happen today. Stop wasting time on irrelevancies, accept the reality that Australia is still the best place on earth to live, and get on with it.
There must be something in the water, an osmotic process of some sort transmitting the concerns. My 9 month old granddaughter on Monday, about the time President Trump was taking the oath of office, started hugging her stuffed sheep as if her life depended on it, and has not let it go since.
Co-incidence , or some alignment of the cosmos felt only by the most innocent among us?