Leave My Flag on the Mast

Just lately I’m seeing a lot of the Aussie flag. But not where it should be, which is, up the pole. Aussies were always nervous about flag wavers in days gone by. Sure, we’re proud of where we live, but overt gestures were rightly regarded with mistrust. A pollie wrapping themselves in the flag was always political death. A fact that Pauline Hanson can attest to, though I’m not sure she realises it even now.  Just about any nutter seems to make a grab for the flag in an effort to prove their “loyalty” but it is usually regarded as (or was) as a cover for a lack of something.

The racist group in Cronulla is another case in point. Got a weak argument? Stand in front of a big flag. Or even better. Make it two.  I first started getting nervous when I went to a Speedway Race at Warnambool on the long weekend. There was a kid wearing the Aussie flag as a cape, and with him was a bloke doing the same with the American flag. Now I had no problem with that happening with the U.S. flag. The Yanks make a habit of it, and when you see the futile wars they’re locked into, you can understand the result of blind loyalty. From where I’m sitting, when the flag comes out, the brain gets switched off. Kind of the same reaction to a holy book.

What have we done to our kids to dumb them down so far? And why are we not sticking to those “traditional values” we presume to value? We have always been pretty arrogant when dealing with our U.S. cousins. Always prided ourselves on being a bit less excitable and a bit more circumspect. Now we seem to be rushing along to become a budget version of the United States. Realistically we can’t match them. The things the U.S. does well, no one can better, and the things they get wrong… you wouldn’t want to.

When you watch the cricket, you see them wearing the flag too, and they are usually the biggest drop kicks, as well. In one respect there is a saving grace at the cricket. The boxing kangaroo is more common than the national flag, and that’s as it should be. As much as I enjoy cricket, it’s still pretty mindless. The mob rule and the boxing kanga fit well together.

One more point I’d like to make is about Australia Day. The fact that the government has to advertise and promote the day to Australians speaks volumes for the plastic nature of the event. You don’t see a government campaign to encourage Aussies to get out for ANZAC Day. That’s the real day that Aussies understand despite recent attempts to turn it into a celebration of war.

So let’s leave the flag up the flag pole and stick with cautious pride.  Don’t let pollies of any persuasion dumb you down with a flag campaign. The reward is that it might just save you sacrificing your kids lives to a jingoistic campaign designed to let a pollie get his jollies.

Last 5 posts by Peter McCarthy