Friday, January 16, 2009


Age journalist, Geoff Strong, makes mention (Age 14/1) of Mayor of Melbourne,
Robert Doyle's distaste for bogans (those 'not one of us'), and the many worrying incidents in
town and country - including the road toll - calls into question what
society's acceptable standards of character and behaviour might be and
how, perhaps, that they might be enhanced.
In the idea of a 'fair-go' we expect to see a natural humility, which respects
others and desires an egalitarian involvement in community which enhances society,
echoing the Golden Rule. But, disrespect for parents, teachers and
authority impoverishes the self-respect and performance of many, leading
to 'them and us' attitudes.

Noting the 'disproportionate' success of migrant children from 'cultures
where teachers are respected', Strong refuses to endorse a condemnation of
the state education system, arguing that 'a large part of the education
problem for Australia's working class lies in the lousy attitudes in the
home', quoting his own experience of family discouragement of his
further education.

If we would see our community, including our youth, growing in moral
stature (and self esteem), we need the greater, enduring challenge and
encouragement of involvement in a truly non-partisan franchise,
which can engage the people, young and old, religious and otherwise,
with an increasing
confidence, and success, in the bonds
of a cooperating people. Such an opportunity for free interaction is
the surest way to challenge the 'them and us' attitudes which can so easily
result in dysfunction in our communities. We each have a responsibility
for the community in which we live and the actions of governments we elect.
Leaving it to the politicians is far from enough.

We are, of course, speaking of the need for a revival of popular democracy.