Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The right side of history? No, the best side of the future.

Picture from here

The phrase about being on the right side of history is often heard.  In my view, it is a passive statement often said in the consolation of loss i.e. we might have lost this round but we know we are on the right side of history.  Howsabout we turn this stuff on its head and make it a more active adage - we are working to place us on the best side of the future.

I am brought to this type of thinking by musing on Prime Minister Julia Gillard's authoritative stamp on a ministry reshuffle yesterday. Yes, I do mean to use the word authoritative in spite of what the media pundits may be saying.

There has been nothing but carping beyond measure since Julia Gillard the unmarried, living in sin, childless atheist inherited The Lodge in Canberra.  Some of it is, it could be said, in the realm of the usual political argy-bargy...although even some of this is at the higher margins of extreme.  Some of it borders on the dangerous. Where does violent language end and actual violence begin?  I hope we, in Australia, never have to answer that question...although, come to think of it,  we did have to after certain events at Cronulla, didn't we?

There seems to be little doubt that Julia Gillard is copping more than her fair share of slings and arrows whether fortune is outrageous or not.  The language is fed by and is an appeal to an Ocker machismo.  This is exhibited by men of the right, and, more correctly, the extreme right - and women (yes I do say women) who thoughtlessly follow behind - who don't like equity with women;  who have grave difficulty when a woman is not only superior by position but by intellect, grace, and goodwill as well.  

Reports are coming through from those who have had personal dealings or social engagements with the Australian Prime Minister.  They report her as warm, gracious, witty, and a wonderful dinner companion.  Those with whom she negotiated in the tense days immediately following the 2010 Federal election bring good reports and contrast the performance of Tony Abbott in negotiations in a way which reflects adversely on the Leader of the Opposition.

Abbott has been a cheerleader of negativity which has brought out the worst in so many Australians high, middle, and low.  The Labor wits of the Twitterverse now refer to the Liberal/National Parties in the Federal Parliament as the No-alition.  

Added to this are the arguments about marriage equality and that the definition of marriage is one between a man and a woman.  The Prime Minister herself, some sections of the Labor Government, and the conservative political parties support this proposition and are loudly supported by the Catholic and Evangelical Christian churches.  

We are living in a time, though, when old shibboleths are falling away.  Societies across the planet are forming new moralities, new adherences, new ways of being community and culture.  This is part of the nature of humanity.  It is an ever evolving story - whether we like it or not.  The Global Financial Crisis will be sand in the oyster of this process. Whether it will produce a decent pearl, we know not.

One of my strengths and, at the same time, one of my problems is that I am glass half-full girl.  Ever the optimist. We have put men on the moon, therefore we can do just about anything.  I think that both history and the future are looking good for equity amongst peoples.  Certainly, not everyone in the world has joined the journey yet but this year has seen many advances which are as startling as cherry blossom in Japan.

So let's work together without animosity to be on the best side of the future.  As a foundation stone for this work, let's get vocal and make it clear from communities across Australia that the sort of negative behaviour I have described is NOT acceptable.

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