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Not in our name please

The Beagle Editor, ‘NOT IN OUR NAME PLEASE’

Rather than local councillors masquerading under such banners of convenience as the now well-worn but, in our Shire, thoroughly compromised title of ‘Independent’, why don’t all the councillors of Eurobodalla Shire simply come clean with the rest of us about their real political affiliations and past histories of political activity and candidacies? In the Eurobodalla this term no longer has the true meaning it should properly represent. Across the political spectrum, there are a few honourable exceptions to this observation, made honourable by the fact they are exactly that: An exception. Cllrs Pat McGinlay and Phil Constable, of the Greens and Liberal Party respectively, come most immediately to mind as examples of welcome transparency.

Now we are led to understand there is apparently a local councillor actively supporting the Pauline Hanson Party world view?

What is the consistency of logic and calibre of intellect that points a big wagging finger at a particular racial group without first pointing that same big finger at the owners of the property assets without whose participation in the first place such sale transactions would not even be possible? No, they’re not going to do that! And why not? Because many of those private or corporate asset owners, besides being inclined towards a free market and therefore a conservative political viewpoint, are “dinky-di Aussies” of the same or similar perceived background as these critics, and this would spoil the convenient simplicity and clean lines of their argument about threats to our economy, for which, of course, we may read society. The most basic scrutiny of this argument begins to reveal the obvious intellectual, and moral, fault-lines underpinning such a viewpoint. We could also of course use an example much closer to home: why even encourage Chinese tourists to visit Eurobodalla? And is the kind of commentary left by a Eurobodalla Councillor on the Pauline Hanson website going to help such tourists to come and “Love the Bay”?

Those of us who have had family members perish in the Nazi concentration camps or who were part of allied military formations which liberated such camps, can only reflect on the reminder it imposes in perpetuity, for all of us who have been spared such horrors, that the seeds for this appalling and shameful human travesty were sown well long before their construction and for seemingly legitimate and justifiable reasons. History clearly shows that the establishment of Nazi dominated Germany in its early days was largely anchored on convincing the larger community that a deliberately targeted minority of people, insistently depicted as different and separate, were largely responsible for much of the nation’s ills and disadvantages. Who were they? People who simply happened to be born into the Jewish Faith, no matter that most were as German as their detractors. But by the time many of its early supporters realized the terrible consequences their support had given to legitimising and enabling such horrors it was too late to roll back what had been unleashed.

It is a pity that the indomitable Scotsman and mighty thinker, Dr Samuel Johnson, had not lived in that time, for certainly his celebrated observation would have held true then as it did in the 18th century when he uttered it in reflection of a contemporary politician, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”.

Being very clear that the principal reflection Dr Johnson was making here was not about patriotism. All of us have a duty to beware of repeating the past mistakes of history: some of them with seemingly innocent beginnings, but ending up with unintended and shameful consequences.

Though it is unclear whether her commitment to the Christian Faith extends to regular church attendance, Pauline Hanson has nonetheless been assiduous to position her social views and policies in a context of ‘defending Christian culture’. Worryingly this appears to echo similar views of a number of ideologically extreme organisations in USA and Europe. It has recently been widely reported that Australia’s current Head of National Intelligence has somewhat unusually publicly identified this latter sector of political discourse as presenting future concerns for Australia’s national security interests. Australia’s Security services are not known as a hotbed of radicalism or wayward public commentary: Anything but.

The values Hanson appears to be espousing as they relate to tolerance, plurality, charity to all and malice to none, etc. at the very least would seem, at a doctrinal level, entirely inconsistent with the core tenets of the Christian teachings if not, likewise, the conduct and traditions surrounding its model exemplar and proponent, Jesus.

Within the same Faith tradition, but a little closer to our own time, one of the English language’s greatest poets and orators remains the Rev John Donne. His memorably eloquent sermons from the pulpit as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in Jacobean London drew crowds from far and wide. As a devoted Christian and religious scholar, Donne had the following profound admonition to make to all those espousing to uphold the Christian Faith’s core values:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent,

a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by sea, Europe is the less,

as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were.

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: It tolls for thee.” (Sermons 1. 80. Devotions 17. 1630 CE)

The universal values and humanity across all Traditions exemplified in these simple words have stood the test of time and remain as true and relevant today as they did then when first uttered, nearly four hundred years ago.

Sincerely

Fitzroy and Marie Boulting

TUROSS HEAD

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