Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Referendum on the cards

Referendum on the cards

Our future is on the line in regards to how we are perceived by our neighbors and depending on what side of the tracks you come from, the flag waving issue seems to dictate what our national image might be. On one side we have those who are proud of our Britishness, and the fact many brave souls fought and died for the right to display the union jack in the corner of our southern cross. On the other we have those who are not so impressed with what the red and white intertwined crosses represent and would love to see something else put in its place.

Is one side more Australian or British than the other? Is wanting a unique and exclusively Australian symbol, in lieu of "the jack", a display of un-Australian behavior or just the reverse?

Now, you can be as dogmatic as you like on your particular view because, in reality, thats what our soldiers fought for in the second world war. To keep flag waving Nazis and Imperialists out of our country was the priority, not to defend England's right to perch on our turf. If I remember rightly, the flavor of digger commentary in the RSL clubs, was no more pro-Pommy than it was any other European state. My father put his life on the line every day of the conflict as a British sailor before migrating here. As the son of a two bob Pom, I grew up in a country that discriminated equally against anyone who wasn't white with an Aussie drawl so don't come the raw prawn when it comes to talking about what's traditional Australian attitudes. We didn't respect the British flag anymore than we did the Italian, Greek, Polish, German, Japanese or American.

When young people stand on their soap boxes and drape themselves in our composite flag, chanting Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, they dishonor the men and women who would have fought for our country regardless of what was on their pole. Do you think they wouldn't have fought as bravely if a Koala bear or anything else was the image of their unity? No, my compatriots, if you want to honor the real free spirit of the digger, ask yourself these questions;

*1. Would you be just as proud to stand under a different flag if it represented over fifty percent of Australian voters and
*2. Would you like to live in a country that wouldn't give the people the right to select their own image?

When I look into my crystal ball, I see a country that prides itself on its multi-cultural heritage and had the gumption to secede from an old and flawed system. The trick was to ask the right questions in a referendum not limited to a simple choice that ensured the status quo continued to pull the wool over the majorities eyes. Yes, my fellow republicans, victory was gained by demanding all views be given an equal chance of success and when one united, viable option was put up against the old and outdated biases, common sense prevailed.

A Manifestation of Democracy

Democracy [The term is derived from the Greek: δημοκρατία - (dēmokratía) "the power to the people]

Democracy has been called the last form of government, a yet to be achieved “nirvana” that hinges on equitable education, freedom of speech and the means to manifest the will of the people. We the people have been sold a watered down version so manipulated by self interested power brokers that it’s almost impossible to distinguish it from liberal totalitarianism or conservative dictatorship. The bi-polar nature of our current liberal democracy denies middle ground sensibilities, as it rubber bands between two extreme views. It fosters an environment suitable for manipulation by those that would play one side off against the other to achieve an elite monopoly of unelected power brokers who preside regardless of ballots.

Now, while there is an argument for the continuation of the system we have done so well under, it behoves us to consider future generations and the concept of true democracy. All our children can be educated to a level were they can self govern; as the mechanisms come on line. All our future citizens can have their say on a secure, democratically governed, national internet. We have it within our grasp to put in the foundation stones for the first real democracy in the world.

Monarchists, republicans and democrats alike, should surly agree, technological advances have put us in the unique position of envisioning a better system, by anybodies standards. If we can seize this moment to rise above personal prejudices, the up and coming debate on what type of republic we want to hand over to our offspring could be the “magnum opus” of a generation that took their planet to the edge of destruction.

Don’t let it be said, we fiddled while democracy burned.

No comments: