Saturday, January 27, 2007

Greatest nation on Earth? Give me a break

AUSTRALIA has made its share of mistakes, especially in the treatment of indigenous people, but it is still the greatest nation on Earth, John Howard has declared.

As he welcomed 125 new citizens in the national capital the Prime Minister was upbeat, avowing: "It's a wonderful nation, the greatest on Earth. We think we're pretty good — and we are." We're the best, says PM

Well, if John says so… Although I would really like to see the evidence that supports the hype, if it exists. In my experience Australia has good and bad aspects like every other nation. I would probably put the place somewhere around average.

In his obligatory Australia Day speech, opposition Leader Kevin Rudd was more on the money, saying Australians should "allow ourselves to dream … about what we might become".

I have a problem with the notion of blind patriotism, of ‘country right or wrong’, in fact any blind allegiance. It can only work positively if a country’s leaders and citizens hold on to a deep sense of justice and benevolence; able to allow space for diversity.

Most of the word’s worst evils are perpetrated in the name of patriotism or its closely related religious allegiance. People allow themselves to be blinded by words and notions, openly ignoring harsh realities.

Oh, the people, or most of them, wake up eventually; as from a nightmare usually when they see the results of blind compliance. But the truth is, Australia is not all that far down the patriotism track; but are no doubt blinded by other mechanisms of national insecurity.

The point is, if you are ‘the best’, in any field, the fact is self-evident. If you are the best there is little need to crow about it. If you are the best then it should be a natural and simple thing to reach out to others with kindness and not with accusation and maliciousness,.

I am happy, overseas, to identify myself as Australian. Sure people are inclined to take the piss, to treat Aussies the way Aussie treat others. But at it’s best, and for the most part, it is a friendly and positive experience. But John Howard might be surprised that it is the Kiwis who are generally most admired in our region. Or maybe he does, maybe that is why he would like to merge them into the “greatest nation on Earth”.

5 comments:

abI said...

What nonsense. Of course everyone knows that America is the greatest nation on earth. And if you don't agree, you're with the terrorists.

Cartledge said...

abi, I'm a lousy tourist :( But I think the US does a lousy job of making tourists eel comfortable. How can you be great if you don't like tourists?
BTW, that isn't spelled terrorist, but Americans can't spell either.

abi said...

Well of course we don't like tourists. Tourists are just terrorists with cameras and cash. We'd prefer they just stay hoome and send the cash.

Ugly American my ass...

Kvatch said...

AUSTRALIA has made its share of mistakes, especially in the treatment of indigenous people, but it is still the greatest nation on Earth, John Howard has declared.

To paraphrase the Python's: "Ah Australia, land of sunshine and sharks!" I hope to be a terrori--I mean tourist there sometime soon.

Cartledge said...

and you will be most welcome kvač or kvatch or --- I dunno, sounds a bit alien to me, suspicious...