And the winner is:
Yes, the Terror!
THE term “unAustralian” has always seemed particularly meaningless.
A lazy, ill-defined label all too readily directed towards anyone who engages in behaviour to which somebody, somewhere may take offence.
It’s like a parent scolding their child on the grounds their conduct is out of sync with their family name. As though watching too much television can be any more or less “unSmith” than it is “unJones” or “unLee.”
Most human weaknesses transcend both bloodlines and nationality. Try as we like, we can’t simply disown certain traits and conveniently deem them unAustralian.
A country doesn’t operate on the same premise as a self-serve salad bar. We can’t just pick and choose which qualities we’ll own up to possessing, and deny the rest even exist.
While there are naturally certain values we consider central to our identity, we cannot expect to constantly be in unanimous agreement. Like any other culture, we are capable of conflict and tension.
And although we may feel disappointed, or even ashamed, by the behaviour of a fellow citizen, that doesn’t disqualify them from being Australian.
As we prepare to mark Australia Day, isn’t that exactly what we should be celebrating: Our acceptance of one another’s failings and faults? Our fundamental faith in diversity, even when it means having to tolerate views vastly dissimilar to our own?
That we are a complicated nation is nothing to be ashamed of. Patriotism doesn’t mean trying to pretend we’re perfect. Self-confidence in our identity should afford us the bravery to acknowledge when very real differences exist.
You can tell a lot about a country by its national holiday. And for us, in typical one-size-never-fits-all fashion, that means there’s no one single way to observe January 26…
And the loser is:
Yes, Gerard Henderson just rabbits irrelevantly on guilt.
… All too many members of the intelligentsia want to project their disillusionment – or sense of guilt – on to society at large. But the success of Australia’s continuing democracy suggests that this is an empirical society in which there is little room for high theory and scant feelings of collective guilt.
Not that Gerard himself is intelligentsia of course…
Anyone in 2011 who can’t hold on both to an honest realisation that our settlement was someone else’s invasion and that we have nonetheless made a pretty good country is just plain lacking in maturity, as far as I’m concerned. What on earth is with these people?
It isn’t about guilt. It is about honesty.