By Loz Lawrey
I know I’m not alone.
I know others share my horror and disgust at the toxic temper of the global zeitgeist after thirty years of neoliberal rule.
Horror and disgust? I know, that makes me a “socialist” or worse, a “communist”. These are the contemptuous labels used by conservatives to dismiss anyone who disagrees with their selfish cold-hearted individualism.
Anyone who finds fault with a government which ignores expert advice and spends its time trying to squeeze the square-peg reality of our multicultural nation into the hollow round-hole of conservative ideology MUST be a commie.
A poisonous virus of fear, insecurity, racism, bigotry and toxic nationalism has infected many nations around the world and Australia is following the herd … over the cliff, some might say.
What’s not to love about the Turnbull government as it rushes headlong to dismantle all aspects of our system of government which smack of inclusive social democracy? Well… everything, actually.
Every day, outrage upon outrage piles up as this hard-right conservative “Christian” dominated regime takes a sledgehammer to all the checks and balances that maintain fairness, equity and a clear vision of the Common Good in our society.
Seriously, I’ve had enough. Call me a leftie, a “bleeding heart”… whatever. I call myself a humanist. Or an Empath. Or just… someone who cares.
I care, not just for myself, but for all of us. And by “us” I don’t mean a white anglo-saxon judeo-bloody-Christian elite, I mean ALL HUMANS on the planet.
Australia, land of many races, the country best-positioned to exemplify inclusion, tolerance and acceptance on the world stage, continues to rush headlong down the ideological road to nowhere (for most of us) that is neoliberalism.
That means embracing a judgmental, arrogant, elitist, law-of-the-jungle, survival-of-the-fittest, winner-takes-all mindset and glorifying an ugly vision of a truly unhappy and divided society which throws the needy and disadvantaged off a cliff.
Former PM (some say war criminal) John Howard did much to set Australia on this miserable course.
Howard has always wanted to rewrite our history, excluding the unpleasant parts such as the genocide of native Australians, and he’s always been obsessed with the way history will portray him.
Well, suffer in your jocks, Johnny-Boy, because your legacy ain’t a pretty picture.
Howard decided to impose his white-bread definition of marriage upon us and (with no public consultation whatsoever) changed the marriage act to suit homophobic religious conservatives.
Yet it was the 2001 Tampa affair which fanned the flames of division in a nation which had spent years learning to welcome new arrivals over several generations. It was the speech Howard made at the time which truly poisoned the well of our public consciousness.
Who was the “we” Howard referred to when he said “WE will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come”? It’s hard to escape the conclusion that this cricket and queen-loving PM was referring to a colonialist ruling class of white men rather than the multicoloured multicultural “we” that includes us all.
Here’s the problem: When neoliberals say “we”, they mean “some of us”, not “all of us”. The neoliberal “we” excludes whole social sectors: First Australians, the unemployed, the sick and disabled, students, workers who belong to unions, pensioners, the elderly, asylum seekers… and more.
In a system that best serves the interests of the rich beneficiaries of uncaring capitalism, some groups of citizens are cut out of the herd and left by the wayside to fend for themselves.
Perhaps Howard’s real legacy was the normalising of blatant lying to the Australian people. Remember the “weapons of mass destruction”?
When the toxic Abbott regime slithered into power, lying was a given, something Australians had come to expect from their political class, particularly from the right. And Abbott, himself a former Howard minister, is naturally mendacious.
Turnbull’s approach is the same: tell the people what they want to hear, but promises (again, thanks to Howard) are all “non-core” these days.
The media massage and amplify the government’s toxic messages of condemnation: of their political opponents Labor and the Greens; of activist groups and organisations which hold them to account; of welfare recipients and those unemployed citizens competing for non-existent jobs.
In fact, if you don’t toe the line and swallow the bullshit served up daily as policy by the Turnbull ministry, condemnation is the best you’ll get.
There’s no doubt the Coalition is working hard to keep us all fearful, divided and depressed. We’re more compliant that way.
And they’re succeeding. Australia is in a state of malaise, and it’s getting worse.
I just had to vent and ask my fellow Australians: Are we there yet?
Are we miserable enough to throw these bastards out and demand a return to government in the public interest?
Or do we have to become REALLY miserable and outraged?
I know I am.