The Downside of Averting an Apocalypse.

I have a concern.

That concern I have is about what comes after this Covid-19 pandemic is finally over.

Sure, like most people I dream of when the lock-downs, social distancing and scent of hand sanitiser are no longer ubiquitous. I like social interaction in the real world as much as anyone, in small doses, and I want to choose the time, place and person. But desperate times etc, etc.

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Photo by Korhan Erdol on Pexels.com

 

So Let’s don our face-masks and get into my fears.

Look, let’s assume that we all know this shit-storm could go either way.

  1. Either we are going to do enough to stop a repeat of the Spanish flu in the early 20th century,

  2. or we’re not going to do enough, this thing explodes and we all get hit by the social and economic debris.

If we take option two, and let this thing run riot, be prepared.

The consequences of our actions will bear fruit on the other side of this, for better or worse.

If you think people lost their shit over toilet paper and pasta sauce, how do you think people will respond to a the inevitable rationing that would have to follow the incapacitation or death of a large slice of society. We haven’t seen rationing on that scale for 80 years. Most of the people who remember wartime rationing will have died. In this particular plague, they are Death’s target demographic.

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Photo by Mitja Juraja on Pexels.com

My concern is also for what will inevitably happen after this current blight passes if we do the right thing, head this apocalypse off at the pass. Will we quickly forget the current unfolding horror when we look back?

If experience and Midnight Oil have taught me anything, we’ve got a short memory.

When this is over, we can’t go back to business as usual. We’ve already lost 150,000 people and that number’s going to grow. We must remember right now, this moment. You’ve finally got the time to stop and think. How can you make the world a little better?

When this is passed, I can guarantee the tin foil hat brigade will arrive, supporting Trump regardless, and giving us all another 4 years watching the decline and fall of the USA into the bargain. Whichever way it goes, I can’t see it working out well for the US. Make America Great Again?

Take a look at every great civilisation in history and note what they all have in common. That’s right, they’re all history. What remains of those great civilisations are people. It’s the people that are the only thing that keeps the spark of societal evolution alive.

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Government shouldn’t be about helping yourself. Government should be about serving the people and improving their lives. Instead,they’ve been lining their pockets and making their rich mates even richer. If ever there was a time for empathy in government it’s now. Government should be a tool for the people, not a bunch of tools screwing the people.

We got selfish, here in Australia, the US, pretty much everywhere defined as “The West”, and we’ve got the leaders we deserve.

A nod here to Jacinda Arden, New Zealand’s PM,who is exactly the kind of leader the world needs. My message to the leaders of the world is, be like New Zealand.

In Australia, the LNP and #ScottyFromMarketing fall somewhere between NZ and the US of A in their response to the current crisis.

Credit where credit is due, the LNP may have come a little late to the party but they have brought some supplies. Hopefully they won’t try and leave before helping with the clean-up.

So now, we’ve got this chance, to avoid the Murdochracy, check for real facts, you know, backed by peer reviewed research, and for god’s sake,  don’t listen to Trump.

Let’s use this time wisely, people to think, to focus on what you can do to make a better world and then do the right thing.

Here’s some pictures to help you imagine a better world.

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As always, comment below, start an argument, whatever floats your boat, but know that I’m all out of tin foil.

Like, Share, Tell me I’m not alone in my concerns.

Bill

 

Let me tell you about Bill.Bill

Bill was a genius. I met him soon after I was born. I don’t remember it, but my mum assures me I was there when the meeting took place. No-one took minutes, so I don’t know what was said. He was my brother.

I have a much loved sister Vikki, in between us in age, making me the unplanned number three.  I owe Bill so much, for so many things, including my name. Bill was 5 & 1/2 years old when he named me. My parents couldn’t agree on a name until he came home from school and said he’d told all his friends about his new baby brother, Christopher. And so, I was christened.

Bill is responsible for more than just my name, also moulding my sense of humour, my love of irony, feeding his little brother a steady diet of the Goon Show, Monty Python and Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. He introduced me to 2JJ, ABC’s new youth radio station, that became 2JJJ. Music by the Animals, Skyhooks, Tangerine Dream. I stole his tape of War of the Worlds, and played it until it died. He also taught me how to blow shit up, though I taught him a thing or two, I suspect. I gave him the formula for a highly unstable rocket fuel that I learned from a friend named Stephan Elliot, (Yes that Stephan Elliot). He and my step brother were mixing it on an old dishwasher my mother had hoped to sell as we were broke. The subsequent explosion destroyed the resale value of the appliance. The boys pleaded to mum, “Chris gave us the formula.”

Her reply sticks with me, “Well if you two are silly enough to listen to what your 11 year old brother tells you, you deserve what you get.”

Thing’s were tough at that time, and by Christmas we left my childhood home and my childhood behind.

He was 15 when my father (Bill senior) left, and the anger and bitterness hit my brother hard, as he knew of the abuse that our mum endured.

He’d spent my first 10 years, along with my mother and sister, protecting me from the awful things going on behind closed doors. My brother bore the burden and he bore it well.

He would prank me, from the first time I could understand April Fools, to trying to convince me bananas grow straight, but in Queensland, they have a machine that bends them, “And that’s why we call Queenslanders, Banana Benders.” Even now, his disinformation campaign bears fruit, as facts he gave me are disproven.

By age 18, he’d cut dad off completely, and my father, in-turn cut us off soon after. When I was 12, Bill senior sent us back home with an angry rant about things I didn’t understand. I still don’t.

It’s 6 month’s later when I next heard his voice, over the the phone. Mum had enough of his absent father shit and said, “Don’t you want to wish your son a happy birthday?” Restraint was in her voice. I believed it was a phone call for my birthday, protected from the hard truth again. He’d really rung to plead with mum for money. His new wife had left him, he was bankrupt, drunk and full of empty promises.

For the brief time we spoke he ticked the boxes, Happy Birthday, talk soon, get together later, bullshit, bullshit. See you soon was the last thing he said to me. It was the best thing he ever did.

Living with mum, sister and future Father inlaw in a unit in Artarmon, brother Bill and I shared a room. He put up with my somnambulism and I got to absorb his interests. We did science, abseiling and bushwalking together, though on hikes he would say sternly, “Keep up or get left behind.” Along the way he introduced me to the wonder of nature, as a rock hound and a lover of the Australian landscape he taught me a lot, some of it true. In every sense he was the father figure in my life, even after my mum remarried.

Did I mention Bill was a genius. After blitzing high school, he went to the Australian National University to study computer sciences, proudly declaring “I’m an ANUS (Australian National University Student). It sounded all very exciting, the stories he shared of Bush Week in Canberra and the pranks the students did, . There was a quiet, thoughtful rebellion in the things he said and did. His humour was shaped by the great British absurdists, and semester breaks, he would share them with me, his annoying little brother. I remember him bringing home Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy on cassettes, the original radio play, each episode stolen from the radio. We listened to the whole thing in the dark of our shared room, he on the top bunk, me on the bottom, both of us laughing at Douglas Adams’ genius.

The humour took a darker turn in the summer of 1976-1977. Having done so well in his first year, Bill was offered a bursary from the Commonwealth Bank, who saw the potential of his gift for programming. All he had to do was pass a medical and his uni costs would be covered for the next 3 years.

They took an X-ray. They found a shadow.

What did that even mean? To my 13 year old brain, shadows were the stuff nightmares were made of, but he reassured me with stories of x-ray errors. It was probably just something in his pocket. It’d all be okay.

It wasn’t.

Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The words may as well have been Latin for me, and I can only imagine what went through Bill’s head. The choices were radiotherapy, which was a hard no, a school mate with Hodgkin’s Disease got leukaemia from radiotherapy and died from that. Option two was experimental. Chemotherapy. Jungle juice, he used to call it, owing to it’s lurid colour.

All through the ordeal he maintained his wit, sharpening it to a razors edge. When a surgeon accidentally pierced Bill’s lungs 3 times during minor exploratory surgery, a semi conscious Bill said, “Why don’t you get someone really qualified in here, like the janitor.”

For two years he endured being the guinea pig for the cancer researchers and he did go into remission for a while, but at a terrible cost to his health.  Come 1980, he had a relapse and when they suggested radiation again he told them to take their isotopes and the chemo and shove it as far as they could into their orifice of choice, (or words to that effect.) The specialist gave him 2 weeks to live. The prognosis was dire.

The prognosis was wrong.

During the hell of chemo, he married his fiancee, changed his diet and continued his degree, this time in Sydney. In that time he built a computer from scratch, wrote a lunar lander game for me and developed really interesting AI software working with a linguist for voice recognition.

Even through the shit storm that hit his life, he kept going and kept laughing. Even when smoke would rise from his fingertips as he soldered a circuit, the chemo having killed the nerves in his fingers, he’d joke about it.

He also knew how to cut to the core. He spoke the truth when the truth needed to be said. After I left home, in 1983, I was not looking after myself, smoking, drinking, smoking, sleeping around, sex and drugs and rock and roll. One day he said to me, “I don’t get it. I’m fighting to stay alive and you’re trying to kill yourself.” Those words stick with me to this day.

I learnt so much from him, at least 40 percent of it bullshit, but he never misled me in malice. If there was one phrase he beat me over the head with, whenever I would ask some stupid question he would say, “Look it up.” I spent hours with my head buried in an encyclopaedia, learning to learn for myself. Still, his lies come back to bite me, as I state a factoid and my eldest shoots it down. Thanks Bill, apples don’t get picked early and then get dyed red,

By the late 80’s Bill’s health began to deteriorate again, not from the lymphoma, but from the damage the chemo had done to his lungs. By then, I was living my own life, deep in a religious sect and afraid for his mortal soul. He was dying, and I wanted to preach to him. It did not go over well. “I don’t let atheists preach to me either,” he said.

The last time I saw him, he was seated on the lounge with an oxygen mask, exchanging quips and political opinion with our step father K. To watch the two of them debate was a thing of beauty, both masters of words and able to take on an argument from any side. Sometimes, you would listen and realise that they had swapped sides, now arguing for the opposition. His mind was sharp to the end and whilst he allowed his GP to track the decline, he refused all attempts by the cancer specialist to get anywhere near him. He’d survived ten years without them, 9 years and 50 weeks longer than they gave him credit for.

In 6th January 1990, William Kenneth Kneipp died of respiratory failure. He went out on his terms and when he was ready. He left an indelible mark on my life and I like to think, the way computer code is copied and replicated, that out there, in a million voice recognition apps, is a little piece of his code. Like graffiti scrawled on the virtual world for as long as we have computers.

He haunts me in so many ways. I see him in my eldest, in my nephew, and in myself. His life ripples on through others and I take comfort in that.

Sometimes, I dream he is alive, from time to time. We talk, discuss things going on in my life, things in the world, stories.

It’s been 30 years.

I miss him.

 

 

 

 

How to Write, and Fight a Black Dog at the Same Time.

Or How Did I Get Hereimg_0649Depression is a funny thing. (Funny weird, not funny haha.) It hits you at the weirdest times, coming and going when it can do the most damage. This post is kind of a continuation of several conversations I’ve had about  the old Black Dog, depression, on this blog.

I’ve been struggling with bouts of depression since I was ten, which anyone who knows me will recognise correlates to the first major emotional crisis in my life. Before that, my life was pretty much sunshine and rainbows, with the occasional Night Terrors to keep things interesting. Standard upper middle class nobody living in Sydney. There was a lot of shit going on in the background that my tender little heart was shielded from. My mum was that battered shield.

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When the darkness hits, writing becomes like swimming through molasses and it’s a chore just to make it through the day’s necessities, let alone drag the words, kicking and screaming from my head. Not that I don’t write all the time, mostly poetry, lyrics and scribbles in one of the many notebooks I have on the go at any given time. These include dialog, scene ideas and mind-maps, all of which become useful once the Black Dog gets his teeth out of my arse.

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Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

My advice to writers who struggle with the deep dark blues is don’t edit your work when you’re down there. Editing whilst suffering depression is dangerous and you’re just as likely to burn every copy in existence. Been there, done that. Back in the 8o’s, I destroyed every copy of Parallel, 125,000 words worth, burning the paper copies and literally blowing up the floppy disks with fireworks. (Yes I’m that old!)

dark fire time paper

Photo by Eugene Shelestov on Pexels.com

Luckily, I couldn’t destroy the copy in my head. Memories are more persistent than a digital format and more than twenty years later I rewrote it.  (It’s in rewrites at the moment.)

More than a decade after burning the novel, I began to write again. The first thing I wrote was a rock musical called Tug Of War, all about the inner voices that pull us from side to side. The words seemed to flow, bursting from my heart and splashing onto the pages, the melodies filling my head, though I have precisely zero musical ability, the tunes still rattle around in my skull today. Whatever it is that drives my passion to create pictures with words, it was in full flight. Songs of love and loss, doubt and guilt, it all appeared effortlessly, perfectly expressing all I wanted to say about the redemption of reaching out to each other, and the tragedy of isolation.

At the time I was part of a church and the script had a strong Christian theme, however the deeper theme was depression and struggle against those accusing voices in your head “Useless, hopeless, different”

Soon after completing the script, the church imploded and Tug Of War, the musical, was shelved. Depressing as this was, it paled in the face of the existential crisis that followed. The upheaval which followed the theological micro-wars saw myself and my family ignored by both factions, at a time where I was having a nervous breakdown and my wife was having to live with me.

Of both factions it can be said, “You can tell a tree by its fruit.” I’ve struggled to find a church ever since. It taught me to take every person at face value, once I dealt with the initial separation anxiety. I saw that everyone had their own shit to deal with and when push came to shove, most people are doing the best that they can with the equipment life’s given them. I don’t judge people. I’ve learned that the road in life everyone takes is dependant on a million little things and thousands of big things that teach us all how to survive in the world we know.

After that, I rediscovered my love of the Australian bush, and it was during this time I began to grow up.

So another decade goes by and while struggling with the usual demons, I fight back the depression and begin writing Parallel again. Twenty something years on and I still remember the whole thing. I finish the first, very rough draft in three years while working a day job and learning to re-enter society as a productive member. I joined a writers’ group, Vision Writers. I submitted the first couple of chapters to what is now affectionately referred to as, The Bitter Sweet Table of Judgement. They didn’t hate it, the 8 other authors giving advice and corrections, pages came back covered in red marks and comments. In that moment I learned more than I had in the decades of writing before.

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So now, more than ten years after joining Vision, 45 years since I banged out my first story on my sister’s toy typewriter, where am I on the whole epic 55 year journey in this meat chariot.

Well, the writing’s improved, though the crippling fear of rejection is still a constant struggle. Over the years I’ve managed to hide it’s more inconvenient effects, more or less. This would, of course, not be possible without my wife and partner of 30 years, Julie who has seen me at my very worst and yet miraculously still says I love you.

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I’ve written a sci-fi novel and nearly completed the 5 novella rewrite of the whole Parallel series, (about 270,000 words). I’m having fun writing a travel blog called Travels With An Old Fart, where I get to practise the lost Australian art of Telling A Yarn. I write of my adventures and misadventures, travelling around Australia with my patient wife and caravan in tow. I’m mostly happy, in between wrestling with the old black dog, and I’m getting help with training the bitch.

So as for those writers, or anyone struggling with depression, my advice boils down to this. Let people in. Find your person. They’re out there.

For everyone else, look out for each other and treat strangers as though one day, you might be friends.

Black Dog Institute has lots of resources if you want to know more.

Lastly, if you can’t cope or just need a chance to vent, contact someone like

·         Lifeline 13 11 14

·         Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

·         Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

·         MensLine 1300 78 99 78

and talk.

Alternatively, or additionally, find you’re people.

I did.

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My main person ❤

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My peeps

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Another of my people. The bloke, not the goanna.

Also, if you feel like this might help someone else, why not share it on one of the links, below.

 

Refugee Cats.

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So a while back, I had this problem. A lot of the neighbourhood cats had been coming into my backyard, mostly to hide from the packs of savage dogs out there beyond the fences of my little world. I felt kind of bad about that, but, to paraphrase John Howard ;

I will decide which animals come into my yard and by which means they come here. So what I did was catch the cats that were in my yard and put them in cages down the back, near the shed. Then I electrified my fences to stop any more cats coming in.

A few cats tried to cross the electric fence, they may have died, I don’t know. I think the feral rottweiler might have got the rest, but it’s okay, ’cause it happened next door.

So, here’s my question. How long is it humane to keep the cats caged up before throwing them back to the feral rottweilers? It’s been a few years now.

I mean I feed them, I’m not a monster. (Okay, I pay a dodgy company to poke food through the bars sometimes, but I don’t like seeing the cages. Or talking about them, apparently. )*

The neighbours complained about me keeping them locked up, so I gave a heap of cats to the dodgy kid next door to deal with, only now, the neighbours tell me the dodgy kid’s been abusing the cats I gave him.

Some people are never happy.

I hate it when people tell me what to do.

Especially, when I’m being an arsehole.

.*N.B. Just got the bill from the guy’s feeding the cats down the back yard. $570,000 per cat seems a bit excessive.

.Update. Some protesters tried to free the cats again but I slipped the cops a twenty and they took them away for trespassing. Get off my lawn, hippy.

Dear reader. If you feel bad for the cats, how much more those trapped in the hell Offshore,(and onshore) Indefinite Detention. These are people, human beings, not illegals, queue jumpers or boat people. Women, children and men, traumatised by the rottweilers all over the world, and we keep them in cages, feed them back to the Rottweilers and console ourselves as we throw them to the neighbours, out of sight and out of mind. Somebody Else’s Problem.
If you’ve supported Australia’s treatment of refugees, I hope this touches your heart because if it doesn’t, you are beyond redemption.

 

 

How to be an Empath, or Do You See What I Feel?

Well here we are, 2019, Trump’s POTUS, Morrison’s the Australian PM and the world seems a little colder, even as the climate heats up. Whatever you believe, chances are you see things that’re wrong in the society in which you live, and it probably stirs an emotional response. Be it sadness or anger, fear or helplessness, your feelings will, at least in part, govern your actions and inactions. So let’s talk about this.

This is not a post for those who get angry and fill their hearts with hate… or maybe it is. This is a blog post about that much ignored malady, Empathy, and if you Hate, then something’s obviously fried your Empathy circuit. That will make this hard to comprehend. Sociopaths and Psychopaths may also struggle to understand.

For the rest of us, overwhelmed by the emotions found at the depression end of the “Scale of Feels,” or Fear that’s spawned by a world that values love so little, this post is for you. I know what it’s like to be lost in the darkness, “lonely though surrounded.”

But I also know what it’s like to have love, to have good friends, to laugh and see the madness in this crazy, beautiful world. Holding onto that stuff will keep you living, but to really break on through to the lighter side for good, you need to find other people. You need to see they feel the same things as you. Find like minded souls, without hiding in an echo chamber of confirmation bias. If fear threatens to drown you in hopelessness, hone your empathy.

Empathy, for those playing along at home, is the ability to not just sympathise with another person, but to share their feelings, hurt when they hurt, laugh when they laugh. Truly, to experience such things, has been the highlight of my life. There is a oneness you forge with another person in that moment, and all anger, fear and doubt fades away like a fart in a cool breeze.

There is a cost though, and it can be very draining. Essentially you’re receiving understanding from them while giving them your strength.  Empathy can be scary too. You can only use it when your own heart is wide open. This leaves you vulnerable, so don’t do this with someone abusive. You do not want them inside your head and you can do without their shit.

As for the draining part, I find it helps if you look at the world through eyes trained to see hope and wonder. Find somewhere you can recover, somewhere safe and peaceful. I try to go somewhere each day with just trees and wildlife for company. It’s easy to find wonder in the Australian bush.

Even with the downsides, Empathy is a worthwhile part of the things I use to cope with a society in which people are separated into boxes. If we start seeing people as individuals not groups, not race nor religion nor gender identity, we might finally be able to get some shit done. What I’ve learned in 54 years of life is that everyone has a story and most are worth listening to.

Generalizations are anathema to empathy. No two people are the same, regardless of the wrapping they are in. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them, but not in a creepy way. Eyes are connected directly to a person’s brain, and it’s the closest thing to a direct link to their mind that we have. They weren’t kidding when they dubbed them the mirrors of the soul.

So now you’ve locked eyes with someone, what then?

Listen, talk, ask. Words are the magic catalyst, that and the telltale expression in the eyes. We’ve all seen sadness behind a smile. Here’s the thing. Empathy will show you what that person needs from you. With a little practice it becomes obvious within seconds. In time you learn to glimpse behind the mask that everyone wears, but only when you’ve shared that moment of openness. Don’t be afraid to cry with them, in joy or sorrow, to laugh, to sing, if that’s what the moment needs. For that time, you are not there for you. Be there FOR that person. Forget about the world for those precious seconds and let someone in. It’ll rock your world.

I believe that what is missing from the leaders of this world is Empathy. The population’s grown too many to be living in isolation any more. The idea of race should no longer apply when we can fly round the world in a day. I like to think of Australia as an ark, we have people living here from every nation on Earth. If we can’t learn to get along, what hope has the world got.

So for those of you who’ve made it this far in the post, I thank you. We Empaths have got to stick together. Go into the world, understand the hearts of others and change the world.

Now go and share the love,(and this post 🙂  and fill the world with peace.

Nationalism Is Death

IMG_3059Hi my faithful readers.

I’ve been away from blogging for a while,  fighting the occasional bouts of crippling anxiety and the ever present Black Dog while trying to keep all the plates of life spinning. I’m not quite sure if it’s classic depression I’ve got, or a perfectly reasonable emotional reaction to the rise of the Alt-Right political movement, (I mean Trump???? Really????  USA what were you thinking? You can’t polish a turd, but you can give it a spraytan and a combover, and apparently it becomes the POTUS.)

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Revolving door anyone?

Here in the land of Aus. we have our own problems with our own government. Remind me again, who’s the PM this week? Despite popular concensus, the LNP seem determined to follow the path right one Prime Minister at a time. (What lasts longer an Aussie PM or an toffee apple?)

Next year there will be an Election and  we’ll see how that goes when the dust settles. While there’s a chance the Government will pull something out of the bag, but with the polls telling a different story, it looks like the Right have gone about as Alt as they can.

I have hope that we might just be at the tipping point, having swung about as far right as most Aussies can stomach. The far right of politics seem bent on marching their coal fired climate bus, complete with the Nationalism flag and God at the wheel to within spitting distance of a fascist state. We’ve  all heard of WWII, right, something about Nationalism and skin colour.

It took about two generations to begin to clear the leftover war baggage in Australian Government. Political leaders stopped searching for Reds under the bed to be able to think about a bigger picture. The process wasn’t quick. Fear remained policy in Canberra until the late 60’s/early 70’s. Vietnam put a stop to that.

It was a gradual awakening, a realisation that maybe there were better ways to solve disputes than shooting at each other. Maybe there were things to do for those they governed, like universal Health Care, Free University, all of which the current crop of pollies took advantage when they were younger.

Gough Whitlam got us out of Vietnam. He tried to swing the debate to the left, trying to meet the basic needs we Aussies take for granted today. Government for the many.   To the sound of tv pop stars singing It’s Time arose a movement towards understanding we are all human beings, irrespective of the amount of melanin in our skin.

We made huge gains under Gough in the realms of equality, social equity, Justice, arts, etc, not to mention having a red hot go at saying no to the US, Re:Vietnam. And as we all know, between US fears Gough was a commie, and the GG John Kerr, Gough didn’t survive in ’75.

Luckily his legacy was a noticeable swing left, away from conservative rule, which kept stability but stifled social progress.

In the vast wide open areas that fill the guts of Australia, the land of strange and deadly animals, people were just getting on with their lives. They were trying to beat the hail, droughts, bushfires, floods and flies to eek out a living from the ground. The Labor Government was never a great friend to the people of the bush nor (at that time) big business. So it was inevitable a collective of 1950’s thinkers in Lowes’ suits would always keep a stranglehold on the purse strings.

Gough’s Labor Government moved hard and fast to change the way the country was run. They supported the idea of government for the Majority of people. In the Whitlam Labor years, we saw introductions such as Medical Healthcare put in place, social welfare improvements, a film industry, the seeds of Indigenous reconciliation and lifting everyone in Australia to live above the poverty line. But it was too much too fast. Change is Hard!

At this point the Fraser Coalition Government stepped in and Malcolm (Fraser not Turnbull, we have a thing for Mal’s in Australia,) with a little help from the Governor General and the CIA, (because the US just had to stop them Commies,) orchestrated the dismissal. Of course Old Money and Old men had a hand in it all. They wanted to hold onto the power they’d controlled for more than 30 years

Using fear and promises, stick and carrot, the Old Farts in the background pulled strings and set this whole mess in motion.  It seemed that we’d gone about as far left as they’d let us get. Th old money and old white men had won. The Political Pendulum slowed, stopped and began to swing back towards the centre. Fraser wasn’t a bad guy, though I thought so at the time. I was a pretty incensed 11 year old.

By the time the dust settled on our Aussie version of Julius Ceasar, things were actually not that bad. The Liberal party had curbed the worst of the financial bleed that trying to change everything at once puts on an economy, but he didn’t see the pendulum gaining momentum in the backswing. His comments in later life would suggest he disagreed with the pendulum upswing on the right side.

The Hawke Keating Labour years followed and they continued to strengthen the social, societal side of things, and they solidified the finances because they approached the changes at a slower place, soothing the Center by playing the Right and Left. They didn’t see the Pendulum picking up speed.

Fraser was pretty progressive, with more center political values. This was late cold war era remember, and we had a lot of 30 year old war babies with families and the Nuke of Damocles hanging over there head. He saw no need to slow the pendulum as it raced through the lowpoint of the arc in the direction of Alt-Right hell.

Then little Johnny Howard got rolled out by the old money/old whiteguys, (OM/OWG) of business and politics. Riding high on the wave of prosperity that comes from digging up and selling the dirt from under us, Howard’s Lib/Nat Coalition spent up big. Johnny used the mining money to keep most people happy most of the time, which was not such a bad thing, though 18% loan interest was killing us. On the fringes of financial ruin, most people were hanging on. But Howard didn’t even see the pendulm rising in its arc and heading for the aforementioned Nazi Horror Sequel.

Anyway, as the  millennium closed, we discovered that the big wide world we’d been selling our dirt to was in trouble. The disaffected, (those that the rich and powerful folk had screwed over for the last umpteen years by bombing and stealing their ancestral resources), put the fear of religious extremists into everyone and airplanes became missiles. While we on the fringes suggested talking, little Johnny Howard was a child of WWII and he reacted as would be expected. He sent troops, because blah blah blah US interests.

War affected us personally again, as we learned you can’t be in this world without being involved, for better or worse. The OM/OWGs of the world saw their opportunity. Do we really not know that these wars are making the the OWGs billionaires. War baby Howard used the Middle East as propagnada, along with the ever present US of A’s assistance, and distracted everyone from the oncoming pendulum.

Then came Rudd/Gillard/Rudd, a half hearted attempt from the left of politics to prove they could be just as right wing as the Lib/Nats. I honestly miss Juila Gillard, who achieved much despite needing the constant support of the crossbench. Rudd not so much.

Their biggest error was to meet cruelty with cruelty regarding refugees. The Alt-right’s screeching about invasion and sovereign borders had an impact, and the rest of us were silent when we should have spoken out. Evil flourishes when good people do nothing. Too many of us are afraid of headscarves and beards, and the alt-right know how to push the xenophobic buttons. Thus Labor raised the cruelty levels to appease the Alt-right. It failed of course, the Alt Right do not play well with others and the heartland of Labor’s support could see they’d lost there way.

So began the Current Coalition Government’s turn in office, on a promise that they’d never play PM musical chairs. And so began the turmoil. Nobodies happy except big buissness and foreign interests as our debt has ballooned and confidence in the future has collapsed.

As for the refugees, the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government have continued to up the cruelty ante, both on refugees in offshore detention, (Read concentration camps,) and the disadvantaged at home. This government has spent the years lining their pockets and trickling on the rest of us. Of course, metaphorically, it’s been a bloodbath.

Aussies love their country, but we’re realistic enough to see we’re a part of this world, and hiding behind the flag and Advance Australia Fair, calling anyone who says, look you’ve gone too far, UnAustralian. All I can say is they obviously live in a very different universe to the rest of us.

The time has come to see that unquestioning Nationalism is a recipe for social and political suicide. Most Aussies don’t like Nazis, and we’re not real found of those who want to stand in the alt-right wasteland, blaming everyone but themselves.

So as the new elections loom on the horizon like a roadside Macca’s after a long drive, we have a chance to change things. To slow the pendulum,and get it heading back towards the middle ground. Use your vote carefully, distribute your own preferences and know who you’re voting for.

Think about the future, and get involved.

Oh, and don’t vote for nazis.

 

Black dogs, rejection and getting back on the publishing horse.

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Hi all, it’s been a while. This blog has suffered from a bit of neglect, as engaging with people can be tiring for an introvert with depression issues. When I’m not dancing with the black dog, I’ll be writing, editing or blogging on my travel adventure site Travels with an old fart. I’m currently searching for a publisher for my novel, Harmony. The beta readers loved it so, come on Publishers and Agents, where are you? Finding publishers for a novel in Australia is no easy feat. It has been rejected by an English publisher, Angry Robot, which was a long shot as it was up against hundreds of other manuscripts.

The characters are very Australian,  the Main character, Key, is a kickass female cop in a sleazy Kings Cross. Other players include an 18 year old Asperger tech whiz, a cross dressing leader of a bike gang, a pot smoking telepathic woman, and a young Koori man of the Guringai people from where I grew up.  I’ve crammed its pages with drama, intrigue, comedy, everything a reader could want. Set in Australia in a climate ravaged 2099 Sydney, it has a whole new lexicon of slang. I have high hopes for it, when I’m not dancing with the black dog.

I’ve begun work on the followup novel, tentatively called Destiny. Stay tuned for that.

IMG_2228.JPGAs for what else I’ve been doing since last year, taking a life changing and life affirming trip through the middle of the country. I’ve watched my daytime job’s hours dwindle away to nothing, and we battle on with the day to day struggles that I’m sure everyone goes through. Mostly my life is good.

So I hope to be more active again, now the fog has lifted. I’ve had a good think, and sorted out some of my shit, and now it’s time to get back into it.

PS. Any publishing suggestions or put in the good word with an Agent you know, feel free.