Howdy Folks. I'm following the Jetlag Instructions, be awake when you're awake, sleep when you want to sleep and get some sunlight to reset your clock.
So until the sun opens up on Sydney I'm reading all the local news, seeing that things haven't changed much in the 5 weeks we've been away - NSW is still The Premier State for Mates :-) The Independent Commission Against Corruption should just launch a TV show called 'who wants to be a millionaire....MAAAAAAAAATE...' as I wake up to read about 'millions of tax payer dollars were diverted to...' and 'RSL Queensland busted for...'
Ah. So good to be home.
Also, so good to be back at my desk where I can once again type a little faster :-)
So it's Musing time.
Firstly I should say that as Australians, we have quite a bit of cleaning up to do in our own backyard before we start commenting on other country's issues, but what the heck Dear Reader, I might as well ramble a bit and blame it on the jetlag later.
Inside The Bubble Versus Reality
As I log in and check my web news, I see all sorts of commentary on the US, the US Election, Trump, Hillary, etc.
I am struck by how imprecise our view is from this distance. I like 'the media' so being critical of it takes a little thinking, especially when my central theme is Reality Vs Perception.
Back here is OZ, we have a Map drawn mostly by 2-3 primary media sources. I have an opinion that at least one of those major sources is Not Good For Our Seeing Things As They Truly Are.
Before we left, I had a mate ask me not to go as the US seemed so violent, so dangerous, #Aussielivesmatter?
It's just no so.
The yanks are busy. They don't do political Junkiedom as much as we do down here, or should I say as much as I do :-)
There is so much going on in their 24 hour lifestyle and so much of their world is about choice. With so many options you have to fashion your own world. That includes a whole bunch of people who skim across the top of the news rather than plunging headlong into it.
In Aus, with limited choices, what they describe to us is our whole world, and to quote Gershwin, 'it ain't necessarily so'.
Humans are Human
We have encountered so much kindness and support in the US that it confirms that Humans are Humans everywhere, some kind, some not so kind, but all sharing the same human-ness. It gives me great hope for us as a species. Maybe, it's possible, that we can do better.
Cleaning up our own backyard
I experienced a few things that caused me to do a double take. Standing in line in a restaurant I waited for this bloke to be served first and when he seemed to be waiting for me, I pointed out he was there first. His surprised and delighted response in being treated as a human made me sad to think that he had an expectation of being treated as a lesser. The reason is only skin deep, but this is just an observation. Like I said, we got a bunch of cleaning up to do in our own backyard before we comment on how other people manage their stuff (well... sort of).
You can't grasp the scale until you get into it
318 million people in the US. 26 (approx) in Aus.
You can't quite grasp it until you get there.
As a result, so many 'things' happen that there is always a stream of news about 'things'. From the distance of here, that gets compressed into 'OMFG LOOKIT!! Yaaaaaa! Danger!'
This creates the impression that it be crazy. But it's not. Well...not all of it.
There are some genuine, complex, soul searching issues that America is still grasping with, and before I comment further, I am reminded to keep cleaning up my backyard first. Aussies reading this know about the sorts of things we've been getting wrong here, it was in the news before we left and as we get back, well...Humans are humans.
Good Guests refrain from talking Politics
It's not unusual for Singy/Songwritey people to have Political Opinions, and we do. But what we have to say, we say mostly in song form. Mostly.
Keeping our opinions to ourselves seemed the most appropriate thing to do. We spent time with people of all persuasions and opinions and once again, they were some of the nicest, kindest folks.
Didn't stop us from telling the truth as we saw it, or from engaging in some quite rigorous debate, but it was more useful for us to listen to the stories and to be an effective agent for Calm by helping people to feel better with a tool that helps us feel better, and that's the music.
Calmer people make better decisions. We did our best to try and give people a Mental break.
Fear is useful but not always helpful
One of the currents that was easily detectable was fear. Fearing each other. Fearing the other. Fearing the different.
It's stoked by people who feed off the result. Yet on a person to person level, the average Mid Westerner is no different to the average Aussie.
Fear helps to keep you away from some kinds of trouble, but it also increases your perception of threat.
OMG How Can They Be Into Trump/Clinton?
Aussies are not unfamiliar with the concept of 'a pox on both their houses'.
Perhaps it's fair to say that across the democratised world, we have a few bones to pick with our political classes.
At the same time, you don't get to criticise unless you get in the Arena.
Want change? Get off your ass. Sidelines are not for citizens. Whose responsibility is it? It's your responsibility. It's my responsibility. That's what makes you a citizen.
to quote Starship Troopers
Jean Rasczak: Rico. What is the moral difference, if any, between a civilian and a citizen?
Johnny Rico: A citizen accepts personal responsibility for the safety and the body politic defending it with his life. A civilian does not.
Jean Rasczak: The exact words of the textbook. But do you understand it? Do you believe it?
Johnny Rico: I dont know.Jean Rasczak: No, of course you dont. I doubt anyone here would recognize civic virtue even if it reached up and bit you in the ass!
No, seriously. Each of our Mates in the States who don't like their options have the option to write in a candidate of their choosing.
Perhaps we are more empowered than we think.
Perhaps the only reason we don't think we can change, can do, can alter, is because someone told us that we can't. They drew a map and said 'here be dragons'
But the map is not the territory.
You'll have to discover that for yourself. Go out there, make voyages, see, listen, experience, then make your own map.
Ah. The Sydney Sun is coming up. Rambling stop. Sunlight begin.
Good to be home.