On his visit to the USA, our PM has prioritised pleasing Donald Trump instead of focusing on more important issues, writes Frank O'Shea.
IT WAS THE PHOTOGRAPH of the year: the grim disapproval on the face of a sixteen-year-old Swedish schoolgirl when she saw Donald Trump pass by. It said so much about the modern world and the helplessness of those who actually want to do something to prevent our little planet burning itself up.
Let me state my own position. First, God died some years ago. I still go to mass on Sunday, but that has less to do with conviction than with my respect for what my Irish forebears suffered for their beliefs.
Second, my background is in physics, only at a graduate level admittedly, but enough to appreciate that science has standards and that I believe what they say about climate change having some understanding of what they have to go through to get their opinions released to the public. And finally, I am a committed democrat — I believe that the people should choose their leaders.
In recent weeks, that last has been seriously assailed. History tells us that Germany, the world leader in its time – music, the arts, the sciences, mathematics – elected Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. More recently, America, the greatest international power in history, elected Donald Trump.
And little Australia, the country I call home, elected Scott Morrison to lead it. I should add Great Britain to my list, but even the people there understand that democracy no longer applies to their statelet, a word I use after learning that geographically it occupies about the same amount of the Earth’s land surface as Victoria.
So our leader – need I remind you that we elected him – is invited as a State guest to America. There is a public press conference. He is required to sit and watch as his host answers questions from the media.
There is a wonderful piece in a poem by John O’Brien which seems to almost predict the whole thing:
‘But glum and dumb and undismayed through every bout he sat,
He seemed to think that he was there, but wasn’t sure of that.’
True, he wasn’t glum. He sat there with a smile, the kind of vacant grin you associate with senility, but what else could he do? The poor schoolboy being tutored by the master, being instructed on how to deal with reporters.
And whatever else you might say about ScoMo, you must admit he is a good learner. So, when there are pesky questions from the media about climate and what Australia is doing, he has no problem talking around them. He, along with his host and the main man in Brazil, were the only State leaders not in the room to hear that little girl from Sweden tell them that they are a disgrace. Speaking eloquently in her second language – note well, Mr Morrison, second language – she asked them how they dared to leave a world of waste for her and her friends to clean up.
But ScoMo was too busy to hear all that. Instead, he joined Mr Trump in an election rally in the American countryside. Well, it was a good meal, the wine was top class, there were prayers — it was only politeness to do his bit for the election of his new friend.
Which brings me back to wondering whether this is what democracy has come to. And to speculating that, like religion and provable science mentioned earlier, we are nearing the end days.
Of course, that is just the cynic in me — the people will eventually speak and bring things back to normal. Even if they have to deal with reports from Kazakhstan or La Paz or Nairobi that a relative of some Opposition person has been consorting with a goat.
And they, the people in the suburbs and the highrises and retirement villages, may decide to make some kind of law decreeing that while it is acceptable to allow intelligent people like Paul Keating or Malcolm Turnbull represent us abroad, there should be some kind of test to keep our less talented leaders at home.
An intelligence test, perhaps.
The Australian PM looked like a hostage victim on happy pills. At times Morrison appeared bemused, at others amused - as if he could hardly believe this surreal moment was actually happening | Analysis by @KnottMatthew https://t.co/oVbeq4XamB— The Age (@theage) September 20, 2019
Frank O'Shea is a retired teacher of quadratic equations.
Scott Morrison gives landmark address at UN, accuses climate activists of spreading lies https://t.co/Hn2qzJJYjg his transformation into Trump is now complete!!! 🤬— Mari R (@randlight) September 25, 2019
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