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Letters from Downunder

Blind sided

Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

(4/2014) Calamity, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: Misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.

One of the great writers of Australian history was Donald Horne, who coined the phrase ‘The Lucky Country’. This was meant to convey just how fortunate this country has been in its migrants, its resources, its heritage and industry, and at the time it was written, in the 1950’s, this was abundantly true. We were self-sufficient, a major producer of wool, wheat, and minerals, which, considering we inhabit the second driest continent on earth (only the Antarctic is drier), and have a population in the low twenty millions, is not bad. The people were generally happy, industrious, with a high standard of reasonable living, fine social security, a British heritage, and a stable economy. We grumbled a lot; things could be better, the old values were being eroded, with most complaints coming from the conservatives, who, as their title suggests, would like to conserve the old ways and ideas, but not anything new - like equality, minimum wages, tolerance and social justice.

Yes, this was Australia, but it could have just as easily been America. Our luck, in comparison to yours, was like picking up a pair of queens in the game of life, while you had dealt to you pairs of aces and jacks which you managed to convert to a full house, enough to win the game. Envious? Not at all. Well, sometimes, but that’s normal, as is the fact that loyalty to the country of your birth or adoption is a very powerful magnet.

But we all like to grumble, don’t we? Some things are just plain wrong, prejudices prevail over common sense, laws pass to help the greedy at the expense of the worker, and honestly, who can you trust these days? It can get so bad that it would be better to live somewhere else, somewhere that right thinking prevails, where pinkies do not call the shots and the old values of law and order are upheld.

Well, I for one do not wish to leave home – it is, after all, where my heart is – but wouldn’t it be great to live in a place where things were better than this? I mean, this is ridiculous – laws that restrict my freedom, being forced to work for idiots and having to put up with all those migrants stealing my job.

Of course it is, and so many feel this way. BUT - there is a solution.

Let’s join a break away, make our own state and put the right things in place. Other states were carved out of this great land, and we can do the same. Make our own laws, set our own tax rates, keep right thinking people safe, form our own industries that pay the right wages.

Well, we did just that here in Aussie last century, and it looks as though the push towards this idea is gaining strength over in your land. Jefferson in Northern California may split off, and, shock horror, West Maryland in your own backyard is ready for action. Oh my! Are you folk in Emmitsburg going to be part of this push for a smaller, leaner government with reduced – or no - taxes and fees, but that understands your rural needs?

Scott Strzelcyk believes your state government plans to tighten gun controls, and is driven by Agenda 21, a sustainable development plan developed by the United Nations. Sustainable development? Now that is surely going too far. In the old days we just took what we wanted, then moved on.

Further to the north we read "Downstate families are tired of Chicago dictating its view to the rest of us", said state representative Bill Mitchell; together with fellow republican Adam Brown a new state is planned to allow all right leaning (thinking) citizens get out from under the ‘stranglehold’ of Democratic domination.

Even Colorado has become too liberal for some, while movements in New York, Virginia, and no doubt elsewhere are jumping on this disunity train. It’s interesting to see that there are apparently no Democrats trying to emulate them, even though there are many strongly conservative states and areas. It suggests the Dems are tad more aware of the problems such movements face should they succeed, and can hardly be unaware of the rhetoric, at least.

I can only guess at the causes of this revolt, but they have been growing in fervor if not in reality – so far. It boggles the mind to even think of the implications, particularly the impossibility of such a state working, but putting that aside for a moment, it is all too apparent that such movements are born out of a sense of calamity (see the quote at the beginning) that has arisen because the democratic process has to been adhered to. The tunnel vision of the protagonists certainly has to be unwavering.

In truth, such folk are self-centred, unwilling to live in the society around them because it does not suit them. I’d ask them if they would prefer to live in a land where the bikie gangs had complete control, where slavery was a way of life, where edicts punish even basic freedoms, where talking or writing anything not approved by the government of ruling body was punished with banishment or death, and where you were not free to talk to a member of the opposite sex in the street?

Because this is how a a third of the world’s population live, those who would give anything to have a day’s safety or peace. Your breakaways have never had it so good, and might well take a look at how the oppressed live and seek to help them before they try to tweak the shape of their society into their preferred mould – which will not suit them anyway, because others will be in it.

However, there is a far greater threat such movements set loose: The focus of attention is on them – they do not mind that, it’s what they really want anyway – and away from things outside their realm. One of these outside things has been around for a few decades, but just sprouted new wings. It is the long term plans of China. They will challenge the might of your country sometime soon, will only play at peace unless heavy concessions are made, and despise democracy. Yes, they have many problems, but such a dictatorship doesn’t have to please its citizens, they have to please it. Their latest foray was to send their navy into the Indian ocean for a look around. That’s scary, more scary than Democrat liberalism or Republican anxiety.

Isn’t it about time the malcontents around you stopped looking at themselves in the mirror, took the rose coloured specs off (even though they believe the image they see is tarnished), and had a long hard look at the world around them? It’s not a lot of fun when you have not seen the wider issues and finished up blindsided.

None of us live in a world of isolation, our lives are ultimately shaped by things outside our borders, and come what may we do have to live with people different to us; people who may be beneath us, with beliefs, values and ways that make us shudder, but then – no one is good as us, surely?

Well, yes they are. At least here in Australia we tend to be pretty tolerant, get on with things, but not liking a class system. Our new state, carved out of Western Australia early last century, lasted about five years, then collapsed with much amusement from the onlookers. I’d give any of yours about two years.

Then we could really party

Lindsay, from coalesced down under.

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker