I’m fed up. I’m depressed. I’m really angry. The way things are going it looks like, come next September, my country is going down the gurgler. I feel so powerless in the face of what seems like the inevitable. When I’m depressed and angry I raid the fridge and pantry. I’ve put on a kilogram each month over the past year. Now that’s really too fed up!
Perhaps I should explain. I live in Aussie land. I’m one of those time-rich, cash-poor grey-haired people. Too little cash (sadly) to entertain myself with more than a very infrequent jaunt around the world – or even my country. Yet (I think) I still have a few marbles rolling around up top: so calcifying into a crotchety conservative is not for me.
From my much-worn armchair, I have time to survey the world through Internet eyes. I can read, watch and listen to mainstream media. I can tap into blogs, tweets and new media publications. I have time to plough through some of the source documentation that has been placed on public view. I can see many events as they unfold.
From what I observe the chasm, between what passes as “news” in old media and the actuality of the source documents and the events that these media are “reporting” on, is quite alarming. In my feeble attempts to explain this dissonance to myself, I oscillate between theories of conspiracy and incompetence. Perhaps it is a blend of both – but with a very big dose of the former.
I cannot blame those many of my fellow country women and men for whom, I know, time for analysis, review and reflection is scarce. After work, commuting and family, few would have the inclination to probe further for the real truth. I cannot blame them for their unwitting and unchallenged acceptance of these tainted media offerings.
Unlike me, most of them must rely on the predigested, but unfortunately selective and slanted, versions of events proffered by radio jocks and the print and television media. If these unreliable versions gel with their predilections and prejudices why should they not accept them without question?
It is not their fault that they cannot see that their views are being shaped and their “buttons” pushed. They do not realise that they are being carefully corralled like sheep ready for a shearing. If the pollie polls are right, most will follow a voting path which has been chosen for them (rather than by them) next September.
We should be able to rely on mainstream media to present us with unembellished fact. We should be confident that journalists will: investigate and analyse with rigour; report accurately without fear or favour. But as I discovered, initially through a peripheral involvement with a front page story more than thirty years ago, this is a far too idealistic expectation.
Back then, though, at least there was more diversity in mainstream media. The distortions in one outlet stood a chance of being countered by another. Consolidation plus an evolving convergence in media management’s views has removed any counterbalance from Australia’s mainstream media. New media offers a glimmer of hope but as yet its community reach is limited.
It may indeed be a lost cause but I feel I must do something. If ever there was an opposition, in my view, less deserving of election to government, Australia has it now. Never was an opposition leader more undeserving of the office of prime minister. Better to channel my frustrations and anger into words on a screen than grams around my waistline.
I’m not prepared to simply mark my time as a retiree until I’m transformed into a mere molehill of dust not too many years from now. I have some gorgeous grand kids. I’d like to know that the world I leave is habitable for their generation and the generations that follow. I’d like to feel confident that the country, which once nurtured me, was prepared to care about the young, the ill, the needy, the homeless and the desperate.
From my armchair I cannot do much. This blog represents both my plaintive cry for action and my therapy.
Clumsy my choice of words may be. Few may ever read them. Most of those that do will already share my concerns. It’s just barely possible though, that if enough of us speak or write of those concerns, the concerted chorus may yet reach enough ears and eyes to change what now may seem inevitable.
Help stop Australia going down the gurgler. Give it a plug.