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 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.”