The Statue of Liberty

So Mr Trump says he’s going to make America great again. He’s going to do it by building a wall between the USA and Mexico to keep the Mexicans out; he’s going to stop all Muslims from coming into the USA; he egged on his supporters when they attacked blacks at his rallies and he’s happy to be endorsed by David Duke, the leader of the Klu Klux Klan; he makes fun of disabled people and says that women should be “treated like sh*t” (I am quoting him); he’s going to make the rest of the world “respect America again” by refusing to negotiate with anyone and thereby refusing to respect anyone else… And the list goes on. His supporters wildly cheer every time he says these things, which makes me sad and fearful for the America that I know and love. I used to think that Australia and America had a lot in common. We both believed passionately in a democracy, which had the foundations of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and the belief that “all men (people) are created equal”. We’ve been allies in every war since World War I, in which we fought to uphold those ideals at home and abroad. The Statue of Liberty used to be a beacon for all freedom-loving people everywhere. Do you know the poem that is engraved on the statue’s pedestal: The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus? No? Well, here it is. Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  That, America, is what made you great. Now you, and to some extent we, have bought the rhetoric of fear, espoused by Mr Trump and others. Once more bigotry has raised its ugly head. Due to the work of terrorists, we’re now suspicious, and even fearful, of our neighbours. We choose anger, rejection and judgement, rather than forgiveness, (cautious) dialogue and open-mindedness. The more we give in to our baser fears, the more we give victory to the terrorists. Rather than reacting with “an eye for an eye” or “kill before being killed”, let’s choose not to stoop to their level. Let’s choose to be the better people, demonstrating in our lives and in our communities that there is a better way to live. That is what will make America, Australia and others, great...

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Take a moment

Bella, my daughter’s dog, is spending the day with us. The Wonder Dog is in heaven. He adores her. So, to give the “kids” a treat, we took them out to one of our favourite spots in the countryside. It’s a little water hole, off a dirt track out in the Mt Crawford area. There were lots of baby Christmas trees; a good smattering of old gums; moss and lichen a-plenty, thanks to the recent rains; a few adventurous birds, and several ponds of water, as well as a couple of little creeks that had enough water in them to send them tumbling into the pools. We even heard a few frogs. The two dawgs had a lovely time, sniffing everything and piddling everywhere. Bella barked at a couple of horse riders as they ambled by. (The Wonder Dog didn’t even notice them until Bella went a tad ballistic.) After rounding her up for the umpteenth time, the Old Boy put her on the leash and took her for a walk. Rex, trotted along behind. He doesn’t need a leash. He’s too scared to venture too far without us. Bella, on the other hand, has selective hearing. All in all, it was a pleasant respite from the world. For a couple of peaceful hours, I didn’t think about bomb blasts and shootings and bigotry and unkindness…I just savoured the joy of being alive. There should be more of it. Do yourself a favour this week. Every now and then, turn the TV off, shut down the mobile phone, put away the laptop or tablet and give yourself a break. Take a few moments to breath in and breath out, to listen to the birds, to watch a bug or two slowly crawl up a tree trunk or a plant leaf, and remind yourself that this is what it’s supposed to be like....

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Oh you kids!

I don’t know; I go on a little holiday and, when my back is turned, things go awry. I can’t leave you kids alone for two seconds! I hear that little Johnny Britain has taken his ball and gone home. He reckons he doesn’t want to play with the other kids anymore. I’m not sure what it’s about. Some say it’s because he didn’t like the other kids telling him what to do. Some say it’s because he didn’t want to play with the foreign kids that had been coming into the playground. I’ve also heard that someone at home told him he didn’t need other children, and he’d be fine playing on his own. Of course, he’s already feeling lonely and now no one wants him back to play. They’ve even said he can keep his football; they’ve got plenty of others. I don’t know why you kids can’t learn to get along. After all, you’re all from the same family. Then that rotten Daesh/Isis gang of no-hopers went on a rampage again. This time they attacked poor little Turkey. It’s time those ratbags found some manners and learned to behave like civilized people. I don’t know what the answer is but we need someone with experience in working with gangs to deal with these kids. No one wants to play with them. No one wants to invite them home for dinner. No one can trust them. I feel sorry for their parents. Aussie’s having an election today. I have mixed feelings about that. I hope he’s mature enough to handle the responsibility. Sometimes youngsters can make foolish decisions that leave a trail of disappointment and, the consequences of which, have to be lived with for quite some time afterwards. I hope he’s given this a lot of thought. And that, at least, he has got one of his mates to be the designated (non-drinking) driver. Kids grow up so fast these days. Anyway, the Old Boy, the Wonder Dog and I are back home, ready to keep an eye on things once more, so be warned and...

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