Scott Morrison commanding our councils to enforce January 26 is indicative of the culture war economy that powers us.
The modern Australia is puzzled mass. If patriotism truly is the last refuge of the scoundrel, it owns a holiday home on the Sunshine Coast.
Once more, we find ourselves gasping at the reanimated corpse of the Australia Day debate, its motion enabled by Scott Morrison enforcing local councils to accept January 26 as the date we celebrate, and will so forever more.
If Australia has one bankable industry in the 21st century, it’s the manufacturing of culture wars. Our culture war economy moves independent of our own. On it, we can always rely. It makes sense, really, people get elected, news publications get material, everyone gets paid. The real cost, of course, is not measured, but is becoming more and more noticable with each passing year: the division of us.
The opinion on either side has always been disparate, but the middle ground between the two has been mined, wired and shelled by easy truism and lazy clickbait. The possibility of an armistice, impossible. Scott Morrison staunchly picking one side is the polish to his turd. It’s an election year, and what worked for Turnbull, for Abbott and for Howard, will work for him. Straya Day for Strayans, traditions are traditions.
Each year, we get taken for a ride. The people who miss out, are us. We do not benefit one jot from the vicious comment box fusillades that boom at our hands. Each year, we stick to our guns, we become furious and shouty for the length of January, and then we move on, until we’re reminded by those above us to re-enter the trenches. So, parties are split, the topic of conversation changed, and the laurels of victory (or a meaningful compromise) are squandered.
This year will be no different. But war is truly over, if we want it. They don’t, but maybe we do. I, for one, will be lowering my guns this year, in favour of a truce in no-man’s land, cracking a freshie of peace, where I’ll ask why January 26 should remain (or go), but I’ll do so with an open palm, not the closed fist Canberra wants.
I’m no longer sure what it means to be an Australian, but I’m for damn certain it doesn’t involve the government making a decision for me.