I love my country. I also hate the people in it sometimes, mostly because I watch them bastardise and manipulate our traditional ideals of a fair go… and turn it into individualism, hatred and fear.
I loathe those “Fuck off, we’re full” (aimed at Asian & Middle Eastern Migrants, and predominantly adorrned on the cars of people from the UK & their descendants — IRONY!) and the “don’t love it, then leave!” (firmly aimed at anyone who has an issue with racists, or other “bleeding heart” Policy experts) stickers. I loathe the use of the Southern Cross as a tattoo. I absolutely recoiled in disgust at the vision of Pauline Hanson (not our most racist, but certainly our most stupid politician ever) wrapped in our flag.
Belle Taylor wrote this article today about reclaiming our flag, which is on the verge of being positioned in much the same nauseating way the American flag has been in the past. It is fast becoming a symbol of “like it or leave”, “with us or against us” nationalism, which frankly, makes me sad.
Because that’s not what it should be about.
My love for my country is private. It is not a competition and it is most certainly not proven by gross displays like flags (made in Taiwan by exploited labour in the Asian nations the racist sentiments are aimed at… it makes me sick thinking about it.).
I respect the flag that young men and women have died for (no matter how much I disagree with their fighting). When I sing our National Anthem, it actually mentions virtues such as tolerance, immigrants (in the second verse that these racist dumb fucks actually don’t bother to learn) and reward for hard work. You know, that whole nation-building stuff.
My love for my country is not an all-or-nothing love. If you see someone you love making a huge mistake, you sometimes need to express it. In fact, if you love someone, it’s your obligation to tell them when they stink.
Because you would always tell your best friend if they have B.O. because you would hope they’d do the same for you. THAT is how you love someone.
Loving your nation is not about displays, or gimmicks, or drinking, or fireworks. It’s about working towards trying to make it a better place. And to make it a place where everyone wants to come because they know they’re welcome.
The people who seem to contribute the least to this nation seem to be the ones that are the biggest culprits in flag-wearing. but it’s not enough. It’s just an excuse to act like a racist buffoon, get drunk, and harass the “do-gooders” who actually find your behaviour disgusting.
So yes, in part, it’s about taking our flag back. But it’s also about the “do-gooders” standing up, saying “NO MORE” and actually saying that tolerance, hard work, and welcoming those people without the luxuries that we have every single day is the gold-standard.
It’s about acknwoledging our Nations woeful mistakes (starting with acknowledgement that our Indigenous folk don’t like Australia Day) as well as our spectacular achievements. It’s about reflection, acknowledgement and yes celebration.
It is not Lemon Ruskis and a spa on the foreshore whilst wearing an Australian flag bikini.
And it’s about people finally saying “enough is enough” and egging the cars with those fucking stickers on them and calling people on it. It’s the only way to go.