By Callen Sorensen Karklis
For anybody who hasn’t read my journalism with groups like Redlands2030, The Australian Independent Media Network, and even Fairfax Media with my letters to the editorial, I’ve written many pieces these past years regarding business advice and the need for action on social issues, particularly the need for major political reform in our democracy. It is clear after this past year that democracy is under serious threat from outside interests now for the first time from foreign interests in a long time since the end of the Cold War.
Now when we talk about foreign interests let me make this clear this is not a question of race or a nations citizens but a select few elite who wish to assert their own agendas on the world stage and shake up the world order. Many people in nations like China, Russia, and North Korea have suffered great cost to their freedoms for speaking out to have a say and defend their everyday human rights regardless their creed.
In case you haven’t noticed our own democracy hasn’t been that great lately either with a growing dissatisfaction in societal and political institutions especially everyday community groups, churches, and our political parties. One thing is for certain the neo-liberal economic politics of the 1980s has left the world a deep wound that led to the Great Recession and has led to a global identity crisis leading many to flock to populist thinking which has left a void of neglect on issues that should be dealt with priority such as climate change, energy crisis, and overpopulation.
Unless you have been living under a rock, we’ve seen the rise of populist thinking on both the left and right in recent years whereby much pressure has been placed in the hands of inexperienced individuals to step in the void of policy ineptitude but in hindsight has only made a bad problem worse. Trump’s rise as unfounded and unprecedented it has been is only part of the problem not the cause. Think hard not only have people been disillusioned with their current political and economic means but there’s a cultural one, too. This is why in recent years people are voting for more candidates like Hanson and Palmer. What we’re finding is a new ideological push for authoritarianism being looked upon in the hearts and minds of all of us. It may seem funny or hard to imagine at first, but when you think about even an innocent lovable movie franchise such as ‘Star Wars’ has suffered angry fan rage over subtle contexts in the new films when in reality it isn’t that much dissimilar from the cultural norms of generations of yesteryear. It doesn’t matter if one’s PC (politically correct) or not sure we all have our own beliefs. But what has occurred is the harsh rejection of even social norms where now even younger generations have lost so much faith in what we represent as a society that the very idea of a regime other than a democratic is becoming more favoured. This is in part because people like to vent their anger for their own economic and political dis-empowerment which in many cases turns to survivalist thinking and in turn potential discrimination.
How did we get here? Social Media outlets have a lot to answer for that much is certain in recent years as well. Online hacking can be done whereby any information can be used to violate the privacy of anybody not just corporations and political movements. If you didn’t think George Orwell’s 1984 is a reality then think again. Governments of today regardless of being in the East and West can monitor a great deal on the internet but that being said a lot of it comes down to corporate good over the common good. We have no big dreamers with a social conscience like the leaders of yesteryear in Kennedy, when was the last time a leader laid down a vision like the Final Frontier? What we do have is a lack of space development and innovation into new technological advances that the governments of today should otherwise be investing in, to secure our future. This clip from Aaron Sorkin hit TV series the Newsroom sums it up best – not just of America but the overall direction of liberal thinking nations overall. This is why it’s so easy for the oligarchic powers to divide and conquer and look into the issues that divide us either on party lines ideologically, economically and even on matters of race, gender, and religion. This is all down to a power vacuum of strong leadership on the liberal thinking side of politics.
This power vacuum couldn’t have come at a worse time. Former FBI director, Robert Mueller investigating the links to the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 US Presidential Election has indicted 12 Russians in connection to the scandal. At the same time all whilst President Trump has visited Putin in Helsinki condemning US intelligence agencies who in turn have cautioned Russia having launched cyber attacks on western allies and the US in recent years. Even if Trump is innocent, the blunder has not only isolated Trump from established GOP leaders back home and further wedged himself from the other side of politics in the Democrats, regardless if some of his base still backs him. This may be Trump’s Neville Chamberlain moment with Hitler much like in the lead up to World War 2 when conservatives appeased the Nazi regime regardless of their extreme views which led to disaster for Britain in the early years of the war. Much like Chamberlain this could lead to disaster sooner than later for Trump. As Putin not only has the upper hand but has played Trump.
In dark times good does emerge to seek moral decisions. Let’s say the worst case scenario with Trump is true (he may not be according to law) and he is implicated knowingly with Putin the lessons from history are a testament to what people will do to defend their country even against their leader who has gone too far. The Frost/Nixon interviews in the aftermath of Watergate did this with Nixon damaging his reputation since, and even in Nazi Germany Hitler, conservative military leaders under the direction of one of their own in Claus Von Stauffenberg took on a plot to assassinate Hitler to stop the war earlier and make peace with the allies. I don’t advocate the death of Trump – such actions are in the extreme – but I do advise the democratic institutions of our democracies rethink their strategies to think outside the box and reform before it’s too late. The rule of law must not be weakened. Those who lie and undermine the truth seek to turn their lies into the truth to legitimise their image. In all honesty, Trump is an impediment systemic of what’s wrong with the current crop of political deal-making and how we got here … not the cause.
- Stronger freedoms must be granted to the press
- More party members’ rights and say must be granted in the major political parties with grassroots reforms enfranchising the members a say in pre-selections and policy
- Nations like Australia and the US need national anti – corruption agencies
- The major parties must adopt bans on foreign donations ASAP
- Social media companies must be regulated to prevent disinformation
Callen is an active member of the Australian Fabians Society and is a Quandamooka Noonucle Indigenous person with a strong commitment to community. Callen has been in the ALP, worked in the retail, media, and market research sectors and is currently a student at Griffith University and works in IT. He also has a Diploma of Business.