Thursday 30 November 2017
There I was at breakfast. “Where has 2017 gone?”, I said to my wife. They say it goes quicker as you get older and I can testify to the truth of it. I must have written over 300 pieces for The AIMN this year. Goodness knows how many comments from our loyal supporters the blog has acquired.
As I began to jot down events, people and things that mattered, or somehow didn’t, my judgement was that it had been a manifestly horrible year for the world and its inhabitants. We haven’t progressed in terms of making it a better place. The young are so busy discovering themselves, the world they live in and their place in it that they are apt to neglect the fact that it is they who are the custodians of tomorrow.
The old are tired, concerned and disillusioned. Those in-between are angry and brainwashed on capitalism’s greed, still unable to distinguish between what they want and what they need.
Wars are still being fought by men who have never grown up. Any meaningful resolution to the problems in the Middle East (and elsewhere for that matter) will not be resolved without the transformation of the minds of men. Millions upon millions of men women and children have been made refugees as a result of the cruel intensity of continuous bombing that creates even more.
In Australia we are still putting refugees in jail (some for up to five years) even though they haven’t committed a crime.
Answers seem non-existent so we plod on in our ignorance thinking that the unwinnable struggles only possible victory “peace,” seemingly conceals itself in the labyrinth of the hearts of men.
All of this fighting has its origins in religion and I have come to the conclusion that one of the truly bad effects religion (any religion) has on people is that it teaches that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.
Besides those who have lost their lives to perpetuate the hard-headedness of man’s inhumanity to man, this year has seen the death of truth, and the subversion of the English language as we understand it.
The new norm has become “take me seriously but not literally”.
In 2016 a new threat emerged in the name of Donald Trump. 2017 proved that It will take time to digest and process the fact that the citizenry of America either in their wisdom or lack of it, elected as their leader a sick deluded man of no redeeming features, full of racial hatred, bile and misogyny.
A deluded pathetic liar and sexual predator with 16 sexual complaints against him who I would have thought unsuitable for the highest office in the world. A person who sees complex problems and impregnates them with populism and implausible black and white solutions.
His leadership is beginning to affect every country in every corner of the globe as he implements the derisory policies he spruiked during the campaign, from international relations to climate change.
At a time when what the world needs is less nationalism and more internationalism we witnessed the aftermath of the election of Trump, the British problems associated with its exit from the European Union, and the return of Pauline Hanson. They were but a reflection of the dissatisfaction people have with institutionalised, neoliberal politics: The politics of the past.
The electorate has shown that it is not in the mood for parties who ignore their concerns. Concerns it has to be said perpetrated by a propagandist Murdoch press.
In Australia we have a democracy in crisis. It is not a democracy of the people for the people, noble and transparent – for the common good. We have government corrupted by the ambition of politicians crawling over each other to obtain self-gratification through self-entitlement. Service is but a forgotten word.
The now self-serving Government under Malcolm Turnbull has been all but dysfunctional, lurching from one crisis to another trying to retain power but the stench of it still lingers in the halls of Parliament. Corruption like rust spreads itself throughout Parliament.
It is a government who has abdicated its responsibility to make decisions. Take the case of marriage equality. It completely abdicated its responsibility and asked the public to make judgements it was elected to arrive at. Having said that, and despite who takes credit for the achievement, equality now exists. Love hath no gender. The people spoke with open hearts but I have also concluded they spoke with protested anger at the abysmal governance of our nation.
A government with no imagination with a Deputy Prime Minister who is prone to brain explosions and is intellectually out of his depth leading a party with too much power relative to its vote, and a long-term hatred for its senior coalition partner.
An Immigration Minister who places innocent people in incarceration for life to deter others from seeking asylum. The cruelty is astonishing. Mind you, he walked out on Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generation too.
A Treasurer who talks down to people, always with an answer given with raised voice and questionable reason. He and his government have long criticised Labor’s debt and deficit when in power but it’s almost certain that the December MYEFO update will show that its performance has been unremarkable, yet it wants to give enormous tax cuts to the big banks who don’t deserve it and are fighting against a Royal Commission to disclose their abhorrent behaviour toward their clients.
He is also a Treasurer totality ideologically inflexible. So much so that the Australian taxpayer will continue to fund people with many negatively geared properties to the tune of $7billion. Everyone knows it is just plain wrong.
It is a government full of MPs ideologically unrepresentative of its party’s original philosophical platform, full of right-wing American Tea Party Republican types who don’t believe in science, are racist in their outlook and intent on legislating people’s right to hate one another.
A government where corruption and incompetence flourish. Internal fighting is rife, with leadership devoid of any vision for the country. It simply governs for those who have when inequality is rife, and opportunity scarce. It continually looks back to a time when people knew their place and occupied it, never realising that the danger in looking back too often is that you lose the will to go forward.
Malcolm Turnbull obtained the office of Prime Minister with a calculated mixture of personal charm, reasonableness, and consummate diplomacy. He presented a façade of calm confidence and understanding in stark contrast to Abbott, the man he replaced, who showed all of the traits of someone who has lost control of his thought processes.
Yet in 2017 Abbott – fully aware of his motives – took nastiness and self-righteousness to another level degrading our Parliament, his party, and our feeble democracy along the way.
As it turned out we elected a hypocrite in Turnbull who was prepared to give up all that we thought he stood for, for the sake of power. He was to learn that power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s well-being for the sake of it. He has ended up as a puppet to the party’s extreme right unable as a leader to bring the warring factions together.
For his part Abbott has taken it upon himself to recreate Turnbull in his own image and in his frequent interludes into Prime Ministerial business via any interview he can get, more or less, gives a commentary on Turnbull’s conversion to his policies.
Even yesterday Abbott, unbelievable as it may seem, was still letting loose with his outrage:
“One of the reasons why the public is so turned off politics and politicians generally is they see all of this… and they do get that people are acting dishonorably, that people are behaving badly,”
“All of this dishonour has got to stop. The era of the political assassin has to end.”
“We’ve had it now over the last dismal decade. It’s damaged both sides of politics, it’s damaged our country and it’s got to stop. It must, must stop.”
The worst offender speaks the loudest
We are expected to put to one side the old Malcolm Turnbull and embrace the new one with unbridled fondness. The trouble is that ”when we look at Malcolm Turnbull, we hear Tony Abbott”.
In the Information Age, those who control the dissemination of news have more power than government. The Australian media has delivered us yet another year of biased mediocre propaganda telling us that poverty is the fault of the victim but wealth comes from virtue and both are the natural order of things. Unregulated capitalism is still king. The economic merry-go-round will continue unabated. Drip-down theory will never be obsolete so long as the rich get rich but the poor never get richer.
All in all 2017 has been an absolutely disastrous year for the world and for Australia. With Trump in power we can only look forward with trepidation. Uncertainty will rule for some time to come or until such time as men and women of intellectual sagacity, wisdom and judiciousness come forward prepared to turn institutionalized philosophical politics on its head and govern for the common good.
We are in the throes of great change and there is a revolution in the making. People are both confused and concerned about national identity, equality, the place of religion, climate change, over population, open or closed society, nationalism versus internationalism and why the rich are becoming absurdly richer at their expense.
My thought for the day
“The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of scientific fact, truth and reason, never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation”.
PS: Sorry, I forgot to mention the energy crisis or the NBN.