Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Inertia and despair

At least I don't have the headache and hayfever-like symptoms I woke up with. Have been to the weights/trainer session, and feel fairly good in body. Suppose that means I haven't been 'inert'. Mentioned that Marc asked if my legs were going to be trashed for two days again (with a bike ride tomorrow morning in mind), so she decided to spare my legs and trash my arms instead.

Just feel like I've come home and hit a brick wall in terms of motivation and 'get-up-and-go'. How unusual.

My wrist is iffy still. Last night it got bad after taking the minutes at the netball meeting. I'm not quite sure what to do about it. It eases after a night's sleep. So what now? No computer AND no writing?

Sitting on the playroom floor yesterday sorting through kids' clothes that have been grown out of by the Midde One - I got a sore back. Doing stuff like that always gives me a sore back. *whinge, moan*

Run out of my usual blog reading - why has everyone been so quiet? (What? You have lives?)

Feeling great despair, basically, for the future of this country. Yesterday Cait decided to apply a Chaser style general knowledge test to these two other teenagers (in the car on the way to netball) One is 14, also in Year 9. The other is 13 or turning 13, in Year 7. She decided to run the 'dumb test' after Zoe was babbling about having to do a speech that included something about our multi-cultural society. They asked "What's multi-cultural?". Duh? What?!

So, first question in her "Chaser" test - "Who is the Leader of the Opposition?"

They DID NOT KNOW!! And not only did they not know who it was, they didn't really understand what we meant by Opposition Leader.

In the end, I mischievously asked "Who is the next Prime Minister of Australia?"

"John Howard" they chorused. (Me: No, he's the current PM. Who could be the NEXT PM?) John Howard, they answered. And then at every question, they just parroted their parents and it's gotta be 'John Howard, John Howard', till I felt like running us off the road.

I suppose spruiking your parents' opinions in itself is fairly normal. There's no doubt we are raising our kids "our way" politically. (And socially -with, I like to think, a moral conscience.) But at least they know who the effing Opposition Leader is! And they choose themselves to watch political satire like The Chaser - which doesn't confine themselves to harassing only one side of politics, and encourages you to question whatever you hear in the media - whether it be advertisements, fashion trends, or politicians. And Cait watche shows like Media Watch which demostrate that you certainly can't believe everything you read in the papers or see on TV.

The views of these other parents scare me though, given the parrotting spewing forth from this other 14 year old. I shouldn't be surprised because at a BBQ I was at with her parents last year, they said they were 'proud to be Australian' during those Cronulla race riots - which basically just made me feel sick. Violence against everyone of a middle eastern appearance is such a good way to solve an issue isn't it. So I shouldn't be surprised that the 14 year old thinks says that Howard getting us involved in the war in Iraq was a good thing because "yep, otherwise the terrorists would be out here getting us, they would!" [I suggested that it wasn't actually Saddam or Iraq who blew up the twin towers... and asked why Iraq and that particular dictator was the one the US chose to invade as opposed to all the other brutal dictators in the world right now. (Oil perhaps?) - It was way beyond anything they understood anything about. I gave up.. and I didn't even bother asking where the weapons of mass deception destruction were.]

My daughter says a lot of kids in her year don't have a clue about what is going on in the world around them. There are only two of them in her group of friends - AND her English class (which is supposedly the advanced class) who watch the news.

But all of them will be eligible to vote (and in Australia they have to vote) in about 4 years time.
Heaven help us.

So I am quite despondent today. I don't usually tend to do my political ranting on my blog (I just usually yell at the TV and radio, and just about throw up when I hear Howard's voice. And his cronies.. nearly threw something at Joe Hockey on the tv the other night.) Because, much like out there in 'real life' I don't like to alienate people who hold differing opinions to me. However it suddenly struck me yesterday that I don't actually get to mix socially with like-minded people with whom I can chat/talk/rant/rave about the important stuff of the world. Stuff that means something to me. It's all building up inside, and I'm about to blow!

My faith in decency and compassion has been totally shattered by this current government. From the Tampa/Children Overboard lies that won them one election - to the disgraceful way this government treats desperate refugees, to the illegal war in Iraq, to the IR laws and the disgusting union bashing... I have long held the view that the Australian public votes with their hip pocket nerve and a bugger you Jack as long as I'm alright view. It just seems to be getting worse, somehow... Why do there seem to be so few people who can take a minute to think about others and imagine themselves in their shoes for a minute. Others who aren't as educated. Aren't as articulate. Aren't as well off. Aren't as safe. Imagine yourself desperately fleeing a country where you couldn't say "I disagree with the policies of the Leader" for fear of being locked up! Or even just imagine yourself with none of the basic wage and conditions that you have come to accept and that have, incidentally, been won for you over the years by collective bargaining... those bastard unions.

Going back to Zoe's speech... her topic was Australia- the Lucky Country. (Found out later that it was supposed to be related to multi-culturalism.. she'd missed the preparatory sessions on it when we were on the Big Ride, and then she had a couple more days off school - the teacher still wanted her to do it.. I also found out it was part of some GATS (Gifted and Talented Students) thing, which I also knew nothing about. So we helped her prepare without knowing exactly what she was supposed to be doing!!)

The kid really needed help (she had a lot of tears over it)... and we did our best to help her come up with the ideas and to put them in her own words. When I say 'we', I mean Marc, because I suck at this sort of stuff. I have no idea how to judge what sort of 'standard' is expected of her age (she is only 8!).. I was hard pressed not to make it overly complicated by pointing out that the term 'The Lucky Country' was coined by author Donald Horne as irony.

She went to school with it prepared last Thursday and covered stuff like the geography, climate, safe, democracy etc. (I managed to slip in the quip that because we have freedom of speech "my mum can say she hates John Howard without getting locked up")

She got equal first with another girl and had to do it in front of the seniors the next day. Note home from teacher said to include multi-cultural stuff and relate all points back to multi-culturalism. FFS? I ended up by that point just writing out some stuff for her on why we are lucky in that respect, but seriously, you couldn't relate Australia not being on any faultlines to multiculturalism! And I found it terribly hard not to shoot down all the 'positives'. How can Australia be so proud of its multiculturalism, when our track record - the Aboriginals, the White Australia policy, One Nation, refugees, Cronulla race riots - is nothing to crow about in terms of being a wonderfully tolerant multi-cultural nation.

(She came first and has to do some more speeches... oh dear!)

Well... now that I've scared off half of the few readers I had ...

... and... just don't tell me if you do like John Howard or believe that the war in Iraq was legal.. or anything else along those lines. These views are the essence of who I am, and so there is no chance of changing them. And I will only become more despondent and 'inert' than I already am. And you wouldn't want that, would you?

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You know Trace. John Howard is really just misunderstood. He's a lovely chap who only has the best interests of Australians in mind. I really resent your negative attitude towards him and our current government. You'd NEVER find such outrageous comments such as yours on MY blog!

(Man, I make myself laugh sometimes. Sorry, just couldn't resist.)
I don't know how you even managed to type those words out Magic. You must have had to go and wash your hands afterwards - kinda like washing your mouth out with soap. Or did the fact that they were dripping with sarcasm work like a barrier cream?

All I can say it's all your fault. See, here I am, meek and mild Tracey, avoiding confrontation and potential offence... sticking to blogging about trivia, and avoiding the dreaded two controversial topics - Politics and Religion. Then I find this person's blog and she rants almost daily about political stuff and I am all Yes, oh YES! And I can't help myself.

I suppose I just have to borrow Shish's blog name and say "Thisismelikeitorlumpit"
HA HA HA HA HA - I quite agree - whenever I am searching for Australian jokes to submit, I always reach for a photo of little John!

Mind you, unfortunately we have a labour premier up here who is also running for biggest parody...
Hmmm, and recent NSW state election, bit of a bummer to know that the Labor govt doesn't really deserve to be in, only the alternative is far worse.
Oh yeah, blame the newbie!

Yes. I coated my hands with the improved formula of Magic B's Sarcasm Barrier.

Since I'm SUCH a bad influence, I guess you don't want to look at this then? No, didn't think so...
I hear you loud and clear Tracey. I woudl get so riled up over the very thigs you speak about, it angered me so much. I even had to move countries to take a breather from it ;)
Tried the political no-how test on my fourteen-year-old grandson. 'Who's the leader of the opposition?' I asked when I picked him up from the station.
'Oh, Grandma we're not doing politics this term.'
'Well, who is he?'
'Not important.' He got out his gameboy.
'Kevin Rudd.' I said.
'Oh, yes. Crud. He's the leader of the Labor Party.'
'The Opposition.'
Frustrated, I continued.
'The Prime Minister?'
'John Howard,' I won't give you his description of him for the sakae of decency.
'Patrick. You'll be voting in four years.'
'Yeah... I'll be ready.'
Last night I could hear his laughter upstairs as the Chaser infiltrated the Labor Conference with the ghost of leaders' past. He seemed to understand it.
Maybe he will be ready, even if he won't be studying politics that term.

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