Last post I talked about how we seem to be living in a toxic world these days. Events in the two or three weeks since then have underlined this conclusion.
Toilet paper and the apocalypse
I suppose I hardly need to tell you Australia’s shameful non-secret. While the world struggles to deal with coronavirus, suburban Aussies began hoarding, of all things, toilet paper. Some argued and even came to blows in the supermarket aisles.
Shelves were soon bare of other more realistic essentials – pasta, rice, frozen vegetables, some meats. There isn’t a shortage, but many people feel like there is one, and so the supermarkets can’t keep up with the demand, and have had to introduce limits, and special early morning times for older customers to get access to stock.
We did our normal Thursday morning shop yesterday, joining all the other “seniors”, but as we headed for the bread, milk and other foods, the focused older generation headed in droves to the toilet paper shelf.
Our Prime Minister pleaded with people not to over-buy and hoard, denying others what they need.
It didn’t use to be like that
Maybe I’m guilty of romancing the past, but I don’t think it used to be like that. Not so much, anyway.
The Australia I grew up in seemed to have more shared values, a sense of community. There were inequalities and evils, but they weren’t so much on display.
So how did we get here from there?
If you can’t beat ’em, pick on someone else
Apparently there was an article in a Melbourne newspaper about bus loads of city people descending on little country towns and stripping them of their supplies, leading someone to ask:
“At what point did Australia turn into a bunch of greedy scabs?”
This led to a comment on Facebook. It says it all.
When did this country become selfish and greedy?
The day this country started bashing the unemployed as dole bludgers who didn’t want to work for a living.
The day this country started demonizing asylum seekers as “queue jumpers” trying to get into Australia “illegally” and take all our social benefits.
The day this country gave hundreds of millions of dollars to property speculators, high net worth individuals and high net worth private schools, whilst taxing working families to death and claiming Australia was a land of the fair go.
The day this country told people unable to afford a home that it was their fault prices had gone up x10+ previous price levels due to tax breaks to property speculators. People were blamed for allegedly eating too much smashed avo for breakfast.
The day this country demonized Muslims as an existential threat to this country and normalised hatred under the banner of free speech.
The day this country refused to say sorry to Indigenous Australians because “I personally did nothing wrong”.
The day this country started calling looking after your neighbour an evil and pernicious “socialism” which threatened to undermine capitalism and private enterprise.
It’s all interconnected. Once you start dehumanizing and unfairly blaming others, community spirit disintegrates and we become a collection of selfish greedy individuals instead of a society.
We are now reaping what we so richly and utterly deserve collectively as a nation. Our of ugliness is finally reflected back upon us and we can no longer escape our own reflection by blaming others. This is Australia and we can no longer deny it.
Pause for reflection
This makes me think! Have christians become so wedded to personal peace and affluence and so inoculated against the teachings of Jesus, that we have been part of this change in Australian values?