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  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee

All is not lost

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that most of the world has been holding its collective breath as Trump and Kim Jong-un trade threats about using missiles against each other. The carnage in Barcelona at the hands of the evil wrought a palpable gasp from the world. The madness of Rodrigo Duterte adds further fuel to global dis-ease as does President Trump’s incomprehensible and reprehensible belief that neo-Nazis have some kind of ‘right’ side. Not to mention (but I will) our home grown loons who find it hard to determine the difference between right and wrong. (That is the government’s inability to retract embarrassing legislation that disallows some Australians from marriage). (Or perhaps Pauline’s misguided and cringe-making burqa stunt on Thursday). (The school yard slanging matches that feature in our civilised parliament) And on and on it goes.

It is stressful and fear inducing to think that our wellbeing, safety and future seem to be in the hands of seriously incompetent individuals and groups.

Or is our future really dependent on the mad few?

Back in the 1980s I developed some form of ‘global angst’. That is I was petrified by the possibility of nuclear war stemming from the proliferation of weapons that had the potential to eliminate us from the face of the planet. I was driven to sleepless night worrying about our collective future being in the hands of another bunch of crazy leaders who might just, in a fit of pique, push the red button and unleash a thermonuclear Armageddon upon us. It wasn’t help by me reading When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs in which an elderly couple naively believe that they could survive a nuclear bomb only to meet a macabre end. (Still haunts me!) It wasn’t till I was probably nearer thirty that I had an epiphany regarding being held to ransom by the powerful few.

It occurred to me then, and stays with me now, that we are in control of our own destiny. The potential for violence doesn’t mean it is inevitable that we will be violent. Our collective fate remains in our collective voice. We may have to suffer the indignity of postal voting our way to fairness and marriage equality; we may have to ignore and apologise for the appalling actions of politicians, and shake our heads at those who would manipulate the High Court for outcomes they deny others. There might be a global call to rage against those who rage against reason; but if we heed this request we will all fall into chaos and disaster.

Our power remains in our unified goodness and kindness. If we get what we want by destroying and condemning others what we end up with has little value. Together our voices of calm and compassion will diminish the mad war-mongers. If we don’t buy into their fury then it will have nothing to fan its flames. I’m not talking about complacency and inaction nor silence. The more we use ‘passive resistance’ and reasoned, logical arguments the more our grievances become a debate rather than a slug it out event in the thunder dome. We may have differences of opinion and believe different things but we do not need to disrespect each other in order establish power over all dominions.

I continue to be bewildered by the arrogance of Trump, the isolation of North Korea, the general kookiness of right wing crazies and the poor judgement of our home-grown bigots. Perhaps I will continue to wonder what the ultimate goal of these people is until one day they might just be able to articulate their manifestos and explain what they are trying to achieve.

I do know, however, that we should not live in fear. The potential for the few to ruin the party for the rest of us only is inevitable if we let it. Our power to create great change, equality for all and peace remains with those of us who refuse to buy the lie that we are under siege by an enemy in our midst. Our voices do not need to be loud to drown out the sound of hatred. We don’t need to contribute more noise. There’s enough ugliness being spewed at us from all directions. If we want to establish a community of equality, inclusiveness and optimism we must stop the tirades that pit us against one another. We are stronger as a collective and weakened by divisive politics.

Think of the world you want to live in and the values you want to live by...I’m yet to find anyone who actually imagines a chaotic, cruel and conflict-ridden life as a reasonable choice.

So be kind. Be patient with your opponents; confuse them with reason and compassion. Pity the fools that employ cruelty. And together we will turn the tide.

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