Living with fear...
It was interesting reading the other commentaries this week about "fear". Joan Chittister's column From Where I Stand in NCR is on exactly that theme and indeed starts out with the words "We are a country held hostage by fear".
She talks about re-instating a Government to "stay the course" through fear of what might happen next and an appropriate response following the tragedy of 911. It is exactly the same here in Australia.
I always consider myself Mrs. Joe Average, and expect that the average person thinks like I do and even after all my years of living I manage to still be surprised when they don't. Because in Australia at the last election, after all the lies that EVERYONE knew the Government had fed us, the entering of the Coalition of the Willing into the war on terror, even after the enormous demonstration that most Australians did not agree with this, the Tampa crisis, etc., Australians still voted in the Coalition Government with an increased majority.
I have never been, nor suspect will I ever be a political party voter as such. I am definitely a swinger when it comes to voting. I vote according to my conscience and the issues involved and not what I perceive to be good for moi as such but for the good of "all". Take the IR laws for example. They don't affect me personally or my family in any way because of the type of work I/we do. But I certainly would not vote for them because I don't think they are a good thing for the majority of workers in this country.
I would not vote for a Government that would lead us into an unjust war. As Joan Chittister says in her column, 911 required a response but definitely not the one we came up with. 19 terrorists, not from any one country, not under any flag, caused more terror than they could possibly have hoped for and it still goes on. But many Australians obviously did vote for the incumbent Government and the reason they did was there need to feel safe.
When did the "I" replace the "us"
Another opinion piece I read in the Sydney Morning Herald this week and unfortunately did not save, spoke about the same thing. One woman admitting almost apologetically for voting for the Government because she "needed to feel safe."
This columnist went on to say (paraphrased) when did the "I" replace the "us". When does feeling safe actually equate with being safe? When does "my" need become my right at the expense of other people on this planet? A water 'crisis' in Sydney a couple of years ago where for about 3 days people had to boil their drinking water because the level of bacteria was unsafe was for people in Sydney a CRISIS. They had a "right" to safe clean drinking water to come from their taps, while 80% of the world are lucky to have drinking water let alone, safe clean drinking water not infected with just a clostridium bug but Cholera.
Fear and our response to it has to be a lot more rational. As Joan says the Taliban are back in Afghanistan where a woman in the street can be beaten with a stick by some unknown male for talking too loudly. Iraq is a country devastated by the ruination of it's infrastructure and as Cliff Baxter told us in his Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread we are making a mint out of restoring what we destroyed. The American people however will have a decade of reduced welfare, health care, etc., to those who need it to pay for this war on no known country.
We have also alarmed other "Axis of Evil" countries to the point of proliferating their nuclear capabilities in case we decide they are next.
One of our American contributors, whom I love dearly and have great admiration for, stands invisible to me on the political spectrum we are so far apart. A few days ago he wrote a long piece on the discussion board about how he doesn't comment on Australian politics and would appreciate if we would return the favour.
However, our politics do not even register a blip on the world radar, Alan, whereas America's politics – the most powerful country in the world – have an enormous impact on all of us. I think we do have a right to comment and while it is good to get the right perspective on your system of Governance from the "horses" mouth we do have a say … because what you do affects all of us!
I am definitely standing in the same place Joan Chittister is standing. Our response was woefully wrong. It did not end fear of attack it only increased it. It turned the common good into our personal need to "feel" safe. Fear is a terrible thing … it is soul destroying and life destroying.
We welcome your thoughts in response to this commentary in our forum.