Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What sort of people are we?

Do we courageously accept, or supinely avoid, the serious challenge of our time?

Our parliamentary democracy is among the best in the world, but it is badly flawed, like them all, with the inevitable corruption of institutionalised power, beyond the ability of the people to keep in check.

While there are many who care, there are very few who take action - for fear of change. Why do we, the people, passively accept being governed erratically, corruptly, by self-serving parties, instead of exercising the right of intelligent self-government through a parliament filled with independent representatives, answerable to us – alone?

Change demands vision of what should be, the courage to accept the challenge, and the integrity to accept the cost, the fear of which paralyses logical action. It has been truly said that change, even for the better, is never accomplished without difficulty.

The change required, to return government to people and parliament, is simple – a change of the voting system in parliament, to the secret ballot, to put a stop to the control of MPs votes by group interests, both in and out of parliament.

Until political power is returned to the people, the threat of politicians waging war will always be on the cards and, as Helen Thomas, veteran White House journalist says: ‘If we care about the children, the grandchildren, the future generations, we need to make sure that they do not become the cannon fodder of the future’.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Another Approach!

The Melbourne Age, 8/1, is adamant that “Military ‘shock and awe’ won’t overcome terrorism”, which clearly requires a ‘smarter approach’. The US response to terrorism in the eight years since 9/11 has proved singularly ineffective, with its destruction and carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now the exposure of Al Qaida involvement in Yemen and the growing political ambiguity in Pakistan would indicate an increasing possibility of US failure to contain the terrorist danger, let alone to succeed in punishing ‘the terrorist base’, which is basically guerrilla in its operation and not susceptible to defeat by armies. Bearing in mind the debacle of Vietnam, the obvious conclusion is that the US approach has only made its position worse, and the hope that Obama might have better success with the planned increase in troops in Afghanistan, is far from convincing.

It is not surprising that there is now considerable public doubt about the value, or the virtue, if any, in maintaining the policy of a military solution to achieve the answers sort. What is becoming odd is that our politicians, of both sides, are determined to continue military support for the US when most Australians are opposed. This is shaky ground.

Another approach is long overdue. Edward de Bono’s concept of ‘lateral thinking’ must come to the rescue!

Western democracy has not bothered to win the hearts and minds in the world. The US especially has misused its power, interfering militarily in the politics of many countries, in support of trading interests. Furthermore, and importantly, it has consistently favoured Israel and failed the Palestinians in their quest for a separate state. While many Muslims may be troubled by Islamic terrorism, there is no hope of militant jihadists losing substantial Muslim support while these things remain.

Both our democracy, and Christianity, are shamed.

God in control ?

God in Control ! ?

I sometimes hear, from time, God is in control and I wonder how, exactly.. What about Hitler? Was he under God’s control? And what about Stalin – and Pol Pot. Eventually they were brought to book, but were not noticeably hindered in their murderous sprees.

And in our society, do sense and a cooperative spirit prevail; in our homes, on our streets, in our public institutions, and especially in our political world.
Is the Golden Rule regarded? Are our streets safe from violence? Do the ‘meek inherit’, or just get pushed around? So, is God in control, and if so in what sense?

I have sometimes answered that question by saying God rules in blessing and cursing.
A selfish, self-centred life has a payoff – the curse of a troubled spirit and bad outcomes – especially if the troubled spirit is ignored.
THOUGH the mills of God grind slowly,
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all. Longfellow

But, for those who live unselfish lives, fulfilling the needs of others less fortunate, there is a spiritual reward – as it is said ‘virtue is its own reward’. There is truth in that, the blessing of fulfilment and inner peace. But only if there is no dwelling on the thought of reward in the doing of it - and a patience which is based on an assurance which springs from the reserves from the spirit of love within, which is of God by a living faith.
We see in the carol, ‘Joy to the world’:
‘He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.’

There is, and always will be, a cost for those who are part of the solution instead of being part of the problem, but love does not even know about, let alone count, the cost.
A safe, happy Christmas to all!

A New Slant on NO States

{My friend Charles Mollison, of the Foundation for National Revival has a somewhat different take on how to get rid of party politics. His proposal reduces electorates to five thousand with representatives all meeting in local regional assemblies. Reading between his lines, they would become the obvious choice of the people in local meetings, not personally seek office.
They would obviously have no need for airline travel, or absence from family life, and would probably be unpaid – just honoured as ‘Our Members’.
Quite a thought.
What do you think? The idea of regional parliaments (instead of state parliaments) has quite a long history, but this is a new slant!