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Letters from Down under


Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

All power is trust…from the people, and for the people,
all springs and all must exist. - Benjamin Disraeli, 1825

(3/2018)The Miami massacre has sent waves of distress throughout our communities here. We have watched horror as the previous ones have occurred, but this one has been so terrible that any of us have been openly weeping. There’s distress and anger over the inability that seems to hang over your attempts to tighten and change the gun laws, and are astounded that the churches seem to have remained silent and thus are pro gun.

Mainstream media too have fallen silent, and we simply do not understand why a country that has been a beacon of freedom has become one of random death and terror. Not only are the foundations of society weakened, but the trust on which society relies is watered down; antagonism spreads, frustration and the specter of suicide rises, and when no reform is produced, then trust, so necessary for progress, is diminished with open rebellion rising from underground to mainstream.

Unable to rely on the hierarchy, the established political parties or the church, young aware people are more likely to turn to anarchy for solutions. Anything is better than this, and they may well follow the example of their parents and other frustrated people and vote for the only person who seems to be different. A form of revolution, long overdue, a way that the stresses produced by past politics can be released. That is exactly what was supposed to happen when Mr. Trump was elected.

His voters did not see, they did not reckon with the reality – that he was not in it for them, but for himself. His flamboyant ways were – and are - smoke and mirrors, his speech and actions all part of the three pea trick he used to dupe. He does not use argument, reason, or restraint, he uses ‘I’. No report goes without "I passed this", "I signed this" or some such. It is the size of his ego that dumbfounds and scares us, and I suspect that many of his supporters are beginning to feel the same.

Certainly the high school students who recently witnessing this massacre feel this, the relatives are aghast, and the world shakes its head in disbelief. ‘Just another massacre’ is something no one on earth should ever hear; yet this was his initial reaction. Hardly unexpected, seeing the NRA are major supporters, and his reluctant talk of tightening ways of preventing mad people getting guns is sickening.

So, after 12 months in office, how is he doing in other areas? The slogan of making America great again was always just that - a hollow catchphrase. He is for the rich, who have jumped on the bandwagon with glee, because they always want more power and loot. Mr. Putin and his oligarchs are in there, and whether deliberately or accidentally, these two power-grabbing tyrants would like to be able to shape the world to their views.

The stock exchange has welcomed the tax cuts, which sees more money for its members. It trotted out its obfuscating mantras again, trickle down, jobs, prosperity and so on, but big business still rules, haves to get more, have nots to get less.

Foreign policy would be a laugh if it wasn’t so gobsmacking. The biggest undertaking Mr. Trump has is to build a needless wall to keep out Mexicans, the most idiotic idea of all time; unbelievably, he has elected to not go ahead with a trans-pacific partnership – which would help you and hurt us – and to divert attention from his dark side with rants about the bad guys.

Other major problems are, one hopes, being dealt with by people who have some idea of reality. How does he stack up against corruption? America has slipped down the scale, according to the latest report, as Russia is now in the mix, and they are open purveyors of it. Cyber security? The war is alive and well on that front, Russia, China, and you fighting the most pernicious and invisible conflict ever devised.

Humanitarian aid? Inhuman. Democracy? Down the drain in America, good in Scandinavia and parts of Europe. Amazing, isn’t it that these regions spend over 50% of their tax revenue on government services such as education, social service and health, yet are prosperous and resistant to corruption. Meaning that their citizens are cared for properly, private ownership of infrastructure is minimal, business is healthy, and relations with their neighbours as good as it gets.

Race relations? A race to the bottom. Poverty? Alive and well, a big growth industry. Psychiatric care? A hospital case. Social service? Hanging in there thanks to morally responsible Trump antagonists. The economy? Well now, let’s print some more money, the magic that just keeps on giving. Manufacturing? Great – for armaments. Unemployment? More armies please.

We hope that the latest protests over the Florida shooting will bear fruit, which in view of Mr. Trumps dismissive comments and the lack of previous success in getting legislation passed to reign it in does not auger well. We do not know how you live with such things hanging over your heads, nor do we understand the hatred and prejudice that seems to flow around the nation. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a sad and disturbing portrait of this, yet is hardly enough to show the depths of the anger that is in the hearts of so many actions and the hate messages that spread across social media. When the gun lobby, the repressive and unjust system of justice, and the running down of infrastructure is added to this, it seems that there is still not enough anger to make congress do anything substantial.

Maybe the Miami massacre will produce enough shame to prod congress into action. I cannot see anything else working. In the meantime, we’ll still visit. We really do love you guys.

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker