What fun it is to live in Australia.
I was trying hard to NOT write about current political shenanigans, but politics has been taking over the airwaves lately. And not for any good reasons.
I suppose one could call it ‘dirty politics’.
The behaviour of several people, supposedly in power, has been nothing short of disgusting.
Of those found wanting (for want of a better expression) there have been two staffers sacked, two ministers on leave – (‘dealing’ with their mental and physical health, after being accused of awful behaviour) - and another member ‘stepping down’: That is, stepping down - to have counselling.
Heaven only knows how many more will be chased out of the woodwork and exposed as unworthy of office. We hold our breaths as to what might emerge this week.
Meanwhile, I have a suggestion – a possible cure?
Instead of ‘mental health breaks’ or ‘clinical counselling’ sessions or courses in empathy training (!), can we send our politicians – or at least the ones suspected of questionable behaviour – can we send them out bush? And I mean absolutely out in the bush.
They need to get right down to basics; basic survival, out in the natural world. Or, in our First Nation’s people’s expression, to spend time ‘on country’.
Forget about artificial counselling and courses in cushy hotel rooms and clinical facilities – or whatever. Get them out and about where few other humans can be seen or contacted.
Remove the iPhones. Give them minimal packs with meagre food rations and minimal clothing. Supply a swag and possibly one companion and/or Indigenous guide. Let them walk through sandy deserts and stride through the edges of rough ocean waves, at all times of the day and night, in all weather. Some time to think. Walk into forests and see the wildlife.
No minders or photographers present.
Then, after having absorbed some genuine nature, introduce them to the brave, industrious, empathy-laden folk who reside in bushfire ravaged communities.
It is here that they will find true grit. Here they’ll see community spirit and meet decent people who know what it’s like to help their fellow man.
These country people have the skills and EMPATHY to know how to feed and clothe their neighbours; they build sheds for free, and organise tool sharing for those who have lost their work tools and cannot afford to replace them. Whole communities supported in every way – by their own community.
These country people who have survived horrors, understand EMPATHY - and it shows.
There is no need for expensive counsellors and psychologists in soft and comfortable surroundings.
The place to find and understand empathy is out in the real world, where real people dwell.
John Denver was on to something, when he sang, “I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly”. ('Rocky Mountain High'… John Denver 1972)
Get out there with eagles in the sky - and friendly goats who need a head scratch and kids who love their dogs and donkeys, and where people talk with honesty and care.
Get hands dirty.
In place of the absurd ‘empathy training’, each of those empathy-lacking and decency-lacking politicians need to be regularly forced into a life less comfortable, with less self-obsession – and less money and fewer perks, to discover what life is all about – outside that bloody destructive ‘Canberra Bubble’.
I vote the Prime Minister to be first to go.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.