Opinion: What of tomorrow for our once lucky country?

Don’t ask me when our nation took the wrong turn and we now find ourselves stumbling unprepared into tomorrow, trying to find our way with a faulty compass and dim torch, both made by ‘Cheap Charlie” in far distant lands. 

There was a time when most dreams became reality, when momentum was maintained, sleeves rolled up, no marathon talks, and few reasons why something could not be done without the approval of seemingly countless authorities. Our Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, the railway linking our nation from East to West and the Kosciusko Hydro Scheme are examples from the 20th Century of what can be achieved with vision, purpose and unity.

It is also clear we have ignored major lessons related to our survival as a nation. Perhaps the most ominous is a current lack of ability to defend our island continent, thus making mockery of a constant cry of “Eternal Vigilance”   

It is now becoming fashionable for noisy whingers who have never raised a drop of sweat for OZ, to denigrate and even loath our nation and its way of life. Values such as Hope, Faith and Trust are becoming national relics soon to be as obsolete.  Even more alarming is that in many areas, our history is being deliberately distorted to a point where some of our youth are embarrassed or even ashamed of our past.  

Despite all the disasters, little is used of past experiences which surely could have had been recorded as lessons learnt, and to be revised for times of emergency, such as the Spanish Flu versus COVID 19.  Today, a readily identified Achilles Heel impeding efficiency in emergencies and in need of instant surgery is Command and Control

The only blessing of COVID 19 has been to reveal our nation’s vulnerability including lack of essential infrastructure, inadequate defence, zero sustainability, increasing national debt, and still relying on a fragmenting USA to come to our aid. Nor should we continue to ignore self-inflicted growing chinks in our armour such as divisiveness, a teetering economy, eroding standards of leadership, questionable sense of purpose and where faith, hope and family disciplines are being abandoned. Above all, constant unchallenged evil assaults our way of life.

If we are prepared to learn from our mistakes, then it’s time to stand tall, roll up our sleeves and step forward together. We can once more be a great and lucky country. However, if we continue to self-destruct, (not forgetting an alert, fiery and hungry dragon ready to consume what is left) then it will be from our own apathy, lack of unity and purpose.

                        AND WE CALL IT PROGRESS?

Barefooted black fellas with wooden spears prowl for Roo
Booted Red Coats with shiny buckles and muskets hunt too
Corroborees mid haunting sounds of didgeridoos and chanting din
While across the bay, a flag slowly falls as white fellas bugles sing
Clearly we’ve come a long way since that history page way back 
Yet today, we’re following blind scouts down the wrong bloody track.

From iron chains and dreamtime to a nation of Space Age afar
Treks by horse or walkabout to flying QANTAS ‘neath the stars
Horse and cart on dirt tracks swapped for fast freight trains on rail
Pen and message sticks became computers with instant detail
Suits now feast on electronic polls, and fear what a noisy few will say
Thus decisions often flawed, dreams lost, and a price to pay.

At campfires, yesterday’s travelers yarned and laughed together
Now solo in hotels, email, and a switch to change the weather
Swagmen with empty pockets shared dreams and a road to follow
Today’s visions by Suits are of yesterday, but rarely of tomorrow
Once proud tales of unity and smiles, despite cruel adversity
Now it’s “them and us” and national shame caused by false history.    

In 1856 the secret vote was introduced to OZ for the old world to see Women were also given the vote when other nations still had slavery 
Never have we faulted in helping nations in strife
Be it with wallets, pick and shovel or in war with loss of precious life
Yet today we have made mockery of life’s values that used to be
Via once bright Temples now dark with greed, deceit and apathy 

Convicts in chains and settlers dreamed of a new life for all
Freedom is a well-used page of our bible and so often is the first call
The Eureka Stockade and infant unions sparked a “fair go for all”
Not long ago was a right to speak, no matter where, what or who.
Now tongues are frozen, thanks to a scheming politically correct few
Today, this curse is an arm of official authority, on what we can say or do.

If you hear shrieking, angry howls of winds in our following years
Perhaps it’s not Mother Nature but hapless ghosts in rage and tears
So many precious dreams forgotten under our Southern Cross
We must cast aside invisible chains and speak up of what is being lost
To shed apathy; thaw tongues, be as one, and do what must be done
To tell false leaders the game’s up, and a day of reckoning has begun .

George Mansford © September 2020

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