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Patriots in a Red Dirt Land

It has been written elsewhere that Patriotism is but a short goose-step away from Fascism, and that Nationalism is but a short spurt of frenzied flag-waving away from Totalitarianism. There is more than just a shade of truth in all of that.

Beneath the veneer of our myths of egalitarianism, and beneath the myths of our inclusiveness and fairness, and beneath the myths of the classless nature of our society, runs a broad river of hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.

The Australia that we hope for, the Australia that we know we could be, has been pulled away from our grasp, and is now steered and controlled and increasingly damaged, by our nationalists, and by our patriots.

There is beauty in our wide brown land. Goodness happens above our red dirt and sinuous escarpments. But hate, suppression, and bigotry, are washing like a tide over the remaining vestiges of that beauty and goodness.

We now live in a land where the promulgators of hate and bigotry are repeatedly elected to our national parliament. We now live in a land where the mini-Goebbles of rightist propaganda, the megaphone voices of our media and airwaves, sprout bile, and hatred, and bigotry, with well sponsored impunity.

How did we allow the Australia that we so love and cherish flip so badly to that negative insidious side?

As willing war-partners with others we are now a country that has dropped bombs on people, and we are now a country that incarcerates and punishes the very people who are fleeing from the bombs that our country helped pulled the release lever on.

As beneficiaries of a flat out invasion, as beneficiaries of a flat out land grab, our nationalists and our patriots oppose the truth of our history, and oppose the rights and aspirations of the First Nations’ People of Australia. Our nationalists and our patriots wave their flags of hate, and bigotry, and racism, with pride.

We now live in a land where the badgering and demonisation of our poor, our unemployed, and the disadvantaged, has become a blood sport for our nationalists, and our patriots.

We now live in a land where the nationalistic and patriotic voices of ignorance, where the vanguard voices of anti-science, where the deniers of truth and the self-celebratory representatives of artifice, dwell solidly in the highest offices of power and influence in this country.

We now live in a land where our patriots and our nationalists celebrate our destructive environmental tendencies, grease the path to further levels of atmospheric pollution, and seek to profit from their unending upward spiral of development of our globally-damaging fossil fuel holdings. They fly in the face of, and deny with well-funded ignorance, the evidence that will greatly affect the world of their children and grandchildren, and the world of our children and grandchildren.

Those of us who feel this way are not in a minority. Those of us who feel this way are not ignorant flag-waving nationalists, we are not truth-averse or goose-stepping patriots, and there is no way known that we will join their ignorant, and destructive, ranks.

But there is something that we are, there is something about us that needs to change if we wish to save our country from the surge of nationalistic patriotism that is pulling our country away from beneath our feet. We have to have a good hard look at our own collective silence.

We are getting to the point in our country where appeals to logic, and reason, and evidence, and bi-partisanship, and compromise, and positive cooperation in the pursuit of any sort of good for this country … are increasingly ignored, and increasingly fall on deaf and ignorant patriotic and nationalistic ears.

It is not as if we are seeking something radical, something that resides beyond the boundary of impossibility or normal human aspiration. We are simply seeking the creation and the nurturing of a more progressive and humane Australia.

We are running around in circles of our own making if we continue on with our silence, but nobody likes to be lectured. I don’t. You don’t.

So it poses the question. What can we do about it?

Well, as part of the silent majority … (and I believe it is time that we as a progressive grouping of people claimed that tag back as our own, and it is time that we claimed that tag back from the nationalists and the patriots of this land) … as part of the silent majority who wish better for this country, I struggle to come up with a clear answer to the question.

We are part of a majority, a slim majority, and we struggle to gain fair representation at the national political level, and apart from our brave spokespeople who have the courage to publicly represent our aspirations on platforms such as AIMN and elsewhere, we, and I, are part of a slim and largely silent majority. We want change. We want real change. We want to hose out the fires of hate and bigotry and negative public policy-making that sears this beautiful land.

Yes, we occasionally get out there and attend some ‘safe’ protests. I certainly have. Yet, when I stroll down the protest street, legally or otherwise, with my banner held high, the thought keeps arising that all of this is just simply not working, all of this is just simply not changing anything. There are not enough of us out there. There is no unstoppable critical mass forming.

My thought is that we all need to get out there. That is my thought on the matter, it is not a lecture to anybody on the matter. But is it possible for us to step outside the comfort zone of our daily comfortable existence?

Mass unstoppable protest, to my mind, is the only answer. Reasonableness, and hope in the power of our electoral system, has not worked, and the rightist nationalists and patriots currently control our national political and societal agendas. They present a face of Australia to the world that is not representative of who we are.

But getting out there and protesting, and standing solidly in the road against the nationalists and patriots, is not always an easy thing to do in contemporary Australia. Because it identifies you to them clearly as a non-patriot, and a non-nationalist, and a non-fascist, and a non-bigot, and a non-racist, and a non-hater, and a non-ignoramus, and a non-denier. It publicly identifies you as NOT being like them.

Their power will continue to grow in Australia unless more and more of us are prepared to get out there, unless more and more of us are prepared to run the risk of identifiably standing in opposition and defiance to them.

Our political parties who oppose the Right need to do more than just try and represent us in our parliaments. They need to join us on the streets. We need to join them on the streets. We need to join each other on the streets.

I cannot see any other method that will, from now on, help us to achieve a better and more humane and more progressive Australia.

Having just read the article by RosemaryJ36 on The AIMN titled ‘Empathy. They have none.’ I can only echo, and agree with, that author’s words … “It is becoming more and more apparent that we need to go down the path of civil disobedience, following the example of the people of Hong Kong.”


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  1. Baby Jewels

    Couldn’t agree more. Half the population don’t want to know. It’s almost too late to do anything about it. Thank you apathetic Australians.

  2. andy56

    on any one given day 30% (or there abouts) of us are thick as dog shit. I dont know how you get them to stop voting for dogs. This is the fundamental principle the liberals use in their campaigns. Labor needs to stop claiming the moral high ground and just go dirty, its the winning formula.

  3. Rossleigh

    Hey, let’s get all patriotic and kick out Adani and mine the coal ourselves… And while we’re at it we can kick out other multinationals… And as for American bases and Chinese investment… Let’s do it all ourselves…

    Ok, I was being ironic. That’s just in case anyone tries to suggest that I should become our answer to Nigel Farrage…

  4. Keith Davis

    Rossleigh …ha … you and Nigel Farrage? No contest. You make sense. He does not. As an AIMN writer I was not paid to say this … I actually mean it.

  5. Aortic

    As Samuel Johnson said as far back as 1775, ” Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” How prescient was he when we have the biggest scoundrel of them all Trump appealing to the “base” to stand up for the flag and the American values which were eroded long before he came to power and according to Chris Hedges, a prominent scholar and commentator, America is finito and he sees no way, politics in that country being what they are, out from the morass. Not much different from here and the Poms. When are we going to rise above self interest as voters and see the bigger picture? Sorry rhetorical question.

  6. Keith Davis

    Interesting comment Aortic. I’m of (since we are drawing from centuries old American advice) the Benjamin Franklin school of thinking regarding how to deal or engage with Patriots. Never do it. It is a total waste of time. They cannot ‘unbend’. Their ignorance, and your appeals to reason with them, will end up with you in tears.

  7. Matters Not


    going to rise above self interest as voters and see the bigger …

    Self interest will win each and every time. And so it should. But be not afraid. Be enlightened.

    (By way of explanation):

    Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

    We all have a self-interest in the betterment of the ‘other’. It depends how it’s defined. Often ‘narrowly’ but best if it’s ‘broad’.

    We do it with our offspring but not ….

  8. johno

    Love your irony Rossleigh, so true. Basically we are only patriotic when it suits us.

  9. Wobbley

    You say in the article we don’t hate…….., I do. I hate fascism, I hate the complete capitulation of so-called integrity journalists who perport to speak truth to power, gutless, worried about their own financial benefit and screw the country. I hate the promotion and employment of facilitators of fascist policies implemented by the PUPLIC servents enlisted to continue this nations demise as a true egalitarian state with fair play at its core. In nature, stray from the majical centre line, too far one way or the other and catastrophe will be the result. This applies to everything in the known universe, too many meat eaters and not enough grass eaters and vice versa and you get the picture. I agree we need everyone who has some semblance of intelegence and foresight to get out there, I’ll be one for sure at 64 but it’ll take a hell of a lot more people to be told the truth and that won’t happen until there’s some balance returned within the fourth estate.

  10. guest

    A “red earth land”? You betcha. Large swathes of the land are red earth. But not so much of it has been so red as now.

    Drought is almost everywhere. Red earth with hardly a blade of grass. Sheep, goats and cattle searching for feed. Pastoralists hand-feeding their animals. Numbers of stock are down.

    Water is scarce. Expensive if it is trucked. Towns running out of water. Rivers running dry. Water stolen.

    What to do? Perhaps for some the answer is in the book “Pastoralism to Tourism”. The station provides accommodation, a cooked meal, entertainment for a moderate price paid by passing tourists. It is a survival strategy. Survival from pastoralism alone is not viable.

    Crops sown this year and growing just 10cm high and no rain in sight become feed for sheep. Already the crop is yellowing. It is a sorry sight.

    Yet we have journalists and politicians telling us everything is fine. It is just nature at work. One news outlet prints nothing about science, just denial trash as if it is holy scripture.

    One politician deemed to be a drought “envoy” spends a few weeks inspecting and “reporting”, at a cost of more than a million dollars (800, 000 for his own expense account.)

    Rheumy old blokes tell teenagers to stop ranting about climate change and to be seen and not heard. Shuddupshuddupshuddup. They just do not want to know.

    We are dealing here with “dealers”.

    We need to put them in their place. If they spruik their rubbish, question them hard and loud. They really have nothing to say worth hearing.

    Just point them to the red earth.

  11. Patagonian

    How did we allow the Australia that we so love and cherish flip so badly to that negative insidious side? Well, we could start with one John Winston Howard.

  12. johno

    Guest, well said. SE of Dubbo is Lake Burrendong. At capacity, Lake Burrendong can hold three times as much water as Sydney Harbour. In November 2016, it was at 120 per cent. Now, it’s at 4.4 per cent. This dam services Dubbo, Orange, Cobar and many other regional towns. To me this says our relationship on how we use water must change fast.

  13. Keith Davis

    Blackfulla Revolution have shared, and responded to this article on Facebook. I think their comments have great clarity about them. With their permission I am repeating what they had to say.

    “It is good, will share it. The only issue I think people will take with it (and it could possibly be a big one) is this… “How did we allow the Australia that we so love and cherish flip so badly to that negative insidious side?” It never flipped…it has been this way for 231 years.

    Also….let me just put this in your mindset for you to sit on…civil disobedience is a privilege Aboriginal people can no longer afford ♡ ”

    Two very good points. Now in my mindset.

  14. Esmeralda

    Aortic wrote: “As Samuel Johnson said as far back as 1775, ” Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” ”

    And as Ambrose Bierce said somewhat later “With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first.”

    In the case of Australia’s Prime Muppet, it seems to be first, last and everything in between.

  15. anthony

    its been a penal corporate vandal extinction plunder colony since 1788

    nothinz changed

  16. Paul Gale

    It’s often alluded to, suggested, inferred, frowned upon, sighed about, exasperatedly shrugged over and very occasionally directly criticised.
    It’s the duvet of enervating complacency and salacious, indulgent selfism in a world where history and literature no longer inform us and psychology has been subverted to the aims of advertising and sloganeering.
    Essentially we are encouraged to be shallow, lustfull, greedy loud mouthed sociopaths with no aspiration other than the accumulation of stuff, the denigration of others and the eventual ultimate reward and climax of sexual gratification.
    It’s the mainstream media, it’s us and law of entropy now plainly visible.

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