Fire Reflections

As I reflect:

  1. Scott Morrison may yet be one of Australia's great anti-witnesses to the Faith, up there with Pell and others. His public faith and his Pentecostalism, his links to Hillsong, and his appalling judgment over going to Hawaii during the fires, not to mention lumps of coal in Parliament, and his scepticism and vacillation on Climate Change will all come together. People of all political persuasions and ages are beginning to rage at him. He is shaping as a scapegoat, the one who pays for the sins of the nation. John Hewson wrote recently that

Ironically, climate probably offers Morrison his best chance to show leadership, and to earn the genuine support of the “quiet Australians”. It will take honesty and courage… Morrison just needs to out this rump in his government and discipline or manage them. He would be surprised at just how much slack voters would cut him for doing so.

Not doing this could be his undoing.

  1. As I consider the depth of feelings in our house over one day of fire in the Hills, and just up the road, here in Adelaide, I wonder what the month of living in smoke in Sydney is doing to people… not to mention to the people in the fire zones.

  2. I see that Climate change is not simply a mortality reminder, not simply a reminder that I will die. It says something about the culture. If we have any compassion for people we surely see that for all our violence and other limitations as a species, what is happening here is the undoing of the best of people's desires. Despite all the greed and fear, and in its midst, this planet has been a place of people seeking to be something more, seeking to transcend mere brutishness. Most people seek to live for the good as they understand it. And it is all coming to an end. So it's not just that we all die and so there is no faux immortality via our descendants. It is also a great grief about the death and failure of the human endeavour.

  3. And I am startled at how, despite all my knowledge of the scapegoating mechanism, and despite all my efforts to transcend it, at how much in the last 24 hours I have caught myself transferring anger onto others. When it comes to our interpersonal relations, I suspect the fires have barely started.

Andrew Prior (2019-12-21)


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Thanks for putting words to my feelings
Allan Nield 23-12-2019
Your words may inform what my mind cannot understand what to say or think about looking at my grandchildren. Perhaps they understand more than I think.

Re: Thanks.
Andrew 23-12-2019
Allan, my friend... yes, the grief is deep. I suspect most of what we can do is be gentle and listen to them. Encourage them to be their best self. Children constantly amaze me with their resilience despite all we do to them. Keep well my friend. Hi to J. Andrew

Scapegoating?
Wes Penney 23-12-2019
Is it scapegoating, or maybe insisting that blame be accepted by those that would have you believe they are blameless, and if they had the opportunity they would flip guilt onto you for infringing on their entitlement.

Re: Scapegoating
Andrew 27-12-2019
Hi Wes. I think it's both. There is no doubt that his appalling political sense (lack of, that is) by secretly going on holidays is for many people the final straw of years of LNP obfuscation and obstruction around doing anything serious about climate change. From that perspective, he deserves everything he gets. Brad Chilcott has called him "mean spirited" (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/25/an-end-to-morrisons-mean-spiritedness-is-the-christmas-gift-australia-needs) and I think that is a fair assessment. He has provided no leadership but along with Joyce and the others seems unable to see past the old industries of coal and gas which are clearly on the way out, and which must be closed down if we are to survive. He is another version of Howard's "say anything but Sorry." And I think you are completely correct: "and if they had the opportunity they would flip guilt onto you for infringing on their entitlement." . However, he is also the scapegoat. He's the one we can all blame to allow ourselves some small relief for our own inactivity and our own complicity. One of my acquaintances - you've crossed swords with him on Facebook :) - said a few days ago "If it's ok for there to be BBL in Adelaide this week, why is it not OK for the PM to be on holidays?" Now he's a hard-core Morrison apologist and his question was full of excuses, but at a deeper level he was correct! All those folk at BBL, worried about smoke and fires, were attending an event which has a huge carbon footprint, is full of single use plastic, and could have given their entry fee to fire relief and for paying volunteers something for their trouble. Instead, those of us who went, lined the pockets of big business for a night's entertainment where we turned our backs on those losing their homes and livelihood. . I have almost zero sympathy for Morrison (although I can see he's badly misled in what I take to be a sincere intuition of the holy because of his membership of a prosperity theology church) but we are all enmeshed in the system which is bringing the planet down. I have no idea how to live in all this, but I *can* see that using Morrison as an excuse, as much as I despise his policies, and as bad as they are, won't achieve anything. I rather suspect it would only justify inactivity and helplessness on my part.

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