26 January, 2010

Australia Day - my perspective

Today we had a quiet day, though the neighbours didn't. Loud music pounded in our windows until after 9pm and they were drinking from at least early in the afternoon. The beach and shopping centre held many in patriotic colours. Many more than I saw growing up or even in my early twenties. This is only the second Australia Day we've spent here in ten years. Patriotism has definitely taken a step up in that time. I'm not sure why. Maybe because of the Bali bombing and the war on terror? Perhaps those of you who've spent more time here in the noughties can tell me. One Australian Christian (pastor) has taken a stand on his blog about patriotism. I'm not sure I totally agree with him. Yes, extreme patriotism is bad. See where it led Japan earlier last century. However, saying that being happy to be a certain nationality is bad is akin to the extremism that the church has taken in the past - saying that going to the Movies is wrong or that dancing is evil. I have many friends from other cultures. I pray for dear friends who are from other nations and who don't know the Lord. I cheer Australia on in the cricket and at the Olympics. I ache for nations, like Haiti, who are suffering. I'm spending my life for the Japanese. Yet I'm *proud* to be an Aussie. Not *chauvinistic*, yet I'm a loyal citizen of this country. Well aware of and indeed longing for the visa to take up our citizenship in heaven with lots of other citizens from every nation in the world. A balance, people, that is what we need.


Ken Rolph said...

Patriotism has become the first refuge of bogans. You have to suspect it is a result of everyone in the world being sucked into the American empire. So the young think that patriotism is a matter of flags and violence against "foreigners".

The Australian flag has become a very dubious symbol. You don't want to meet a gang of bogans drunk and wrapped in the flag. They will probably make you kiss it or else beat you up. Were you away for the Cronulla riot?

At Jan's school (an Anglican high school in Sydney's Hills district) some of the kids stopped their car behind the car of another Asian student. They wouldn't let him leave the carpark until he sang the national anthem.

This was all pumped up in the Howard era with all that rhetoric about "this is our place and we'll decide who comes here". In the end many of us were ashamed to be Australian. I suspect this was the main reason Howard was the second PM to lose his own seat in an election.

Wendy said...

Yup, we've missed a lot in the last 8 years, the Cronulla riot being one of them.

Wendy said...

Thanks Ken, you've helped my understanding no end. All a part of my re-acculturation.