Sunday, July 25, 2010

Astray liars, let us rejoice

It's hardly very patriotic to base a discussion on the topic by citing overseas sources; particularly, perhaps, the US of America.

Apart from some airkzist-ent-ya l'st angst surrounding the loss of the southern cross tattoo to our local version of the redneck, we are prone to celebrating our national day with a good less saluting and genuflecting to the flag as some. We're the country who mumble through the second verse of our national anthem because none of our sports stars knows the words. There's a smattering of bigotry but it doesn't necessarily speak in one national language; our prejudices spread through region and demographic as they do elsewhere, but our riots are fewer and calls for secession an historical oddity. I don't worry about Australia having an excessive nationalist bent or an overblown patriotic fervour. I'm bloody grateful in a way that we don't.

Having a paucity of patriot principles with which to govern us, hasn't stopped us from excelling in a range of disciplines. One could argue for the benefits of a superior climate, but the mad mix of floods and droughts, cyclones and tornadoes, shows that we can triumph in adverse conditions. Go far enough inland and there's all the proof you need. And there are countries with rainforests who experience a lower standard of living and less economic nous.

Capitalism co-exists with a national health plan and not even our conservatives persist with the idea of abandoning Medicare the way they once did with Medibank. We may not pull off some of the people power advances our neighbour New Zealand have, but we offer welfare without the need to have saved the insurance. And that hasn't damaged our economy, nor meant we are unable to participate and contribute to the more right wing favoured causes like our Middle East incursions and 'boat people' policy.


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