Wednesday, 23 June 2004

flag-waving idiocy

John Howard has obviously been spending too much time in the US. Australians are pretty patriotic on the whole, and I count myself among the most patriotic of the lot; I've never once opened a second eye during a match in which Australia was playing. However, the idea of tying education funding to some display of American-style chest-beating has nothing, nothing at all, to do with the Australian style of patriotism. My primary school waved the flag, and we sang the national anthem every week, and I detested it. (Admittedly, the fact that it was the wrong national anthem - God Save Some Pommy Chick - probably contributed to my distaste). Despite that, every other sentence I start over here begins with "In Australia, ...".

If Howard is worried about our sense of national pride, let him walk into a pub when the Olympics are on, and Thorpe is swimming the 400m freestyle final, or Jana Pittman is running the 400m final, or the Kookaburras are playing the hockey final, and tell the assembled mass that they aren't proud enough of their country. National pride doesn't live in a person's relationship with a bit of cloth cobbled together from a leftover English standard and some scraps from Eureka; it lives in a person's reaction when they see another Australian losing, winning, or just generally putting in, and they say to themselves, "bloody hell, she's one of our lot, go you good thing".

Now even though I think the English ensign is a bit of a stain on our flag, it does represent our country, and I love what it represents. However, tying it to funding, for schools or anything else, is just silly stuff.

No bloody idea, Howard. No bloody idea.

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