Australia Day 2022 – What have we become?

Today is Australia Day. It’s the day to recognise the 1788 landing of the First Fleet in Sydney and for better or worse, the day Australia became one with the western world. It is also a day that Australians come together and celebrate what it means to be Australian. In the past, I have reflected back on my relationship with this country I emigrated to some 34 years ago. I have always looked back with gratitude for the life I have lived here and the opportunities that I have been given. But this year is different. This year I am fucking sad at what this country has become and there’s no way to sugar coat it. I’m going to share an experience I had just a few days ago that really enlightened me to what Australians have become.

I like to walk at night. I have a very high sensitivity to Sunlight which can result in migraines with as little as ten minutes in the Sun, so the darkness, or at least the twilight, has been my friend for a long time. Not to mention, that cool evening air is significantly nicer to walk in than the hot summer Sun. I have found a nice park to walk around that has plenty of smells for Saffy to enjoy and the ground is flat so I’m not going to break an ankle in the dark. After the walk, I generally drive home which takes me through the main streets of Frankston and around the industrial zone of Seaford.

On this particular night, while driving past the old Nylex building, once an icon to Frankston, I noticed a woman laying on the side of the road, a walker frame next to her. I continued driving, every anti-social autistic fibre of my being repeating the words “just keep driving… just keep driving…” but thankfully, when confronted with something like this, my moral compass is louder and stronger and it just didn’t sit right with me. Dozens of cars in front of me had just driven past, as did a number of cars behind me. I made a U-Turn and drove past again. She didn’t look well at all. After my second drive-by, I made a second U-Turn and pulled up beside her, with the windows down I asked if she was okay.

“No” was all I heard.

I pulled the car off the road and went to her assistance. She was holding her ankle and with slurred speech told me she’d been hit by a car. It had run over her leg and she had fallen and hit her head. I asked her name and she pointed to a lanyard around her neck. Carefully I took it off while instructing her not to move. The lanyard had cards full of medical information stating that she was autistic, bipolar and schizophrenic among other conditions. By this stage, I was already on hold with emergency.

Around this time, another car pulled up and a young woman I came to know as Jade got out and was able to sit with the injured woman while I dealt with the emergency line. It didn’t take long for the police and ambulance to turn up and I spent the next hour, giving statements to each of them while being blinded by the flashing lights. I learned that she had tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of the car that hit her and apparently the driver got out to make sure she was okay before taking off.

Eventually, her carer turned up and stated that this is something she does and there may not have even been a car and that she could’ve made the whole thing up. I’m hoping this explains the fact that the driver wasn’t there.

So why am I telling you this story? It’s certainly not to gain credit or any other recognition. Normally I wouldn’t say anything about such an event as I’ve helped many people and animals in the past. But this one got to me. The fact that a clearly distressed and disabled woman was laying on the side of a road for who knows how long before I drove past and no one stopped to help. No one!

And this isn’t a single event. Not two weeks earlier, I witnessed an oncoming car obliterate a possum running across the road. It had time to stop but didn’t. Nor did the driver pull over to check if the animal was injured. That, apparently, was my job also.

What have we become?

What kind of people are you to drive past someone in need and keep on going?

To say I’m disgusted is an understatement.

We used to be a country of brothers and sisters who’d go out of our way to help someone, anyone in need. And now this…

We have become a people that are quick to hurl abuse at someone who isn’t wearing a ridiculous mask on their face and criticise and demean those who chose not to get vaccinated, report neighbours who aren’t upholding unjust, and what would’ve once been un-Australian, rules, but we won’t help someone who is genuinely in need.

We’ll post all over social media how amazing we are that we are vaccinated and doing our bit to save the world and then drive on past someone laying in the street. And being Australia day, I’m sure there will be plenty of crap being flung around about it being “Invasion day” and finger-pointing at anyone who dares to celebrate. All from the safety of our air-conditioned lounge rooms of course.

This country or dare I say, the world, has gone to shit. We’ve lost our way, we’ve lost our very soul. And for that, I am fucking sad!

If you are prepared to post your “good deeds” that really cost you nothing, but won’t help someone or animal in actual need, the term is virtue signalling and you are a cunt. My therapist recently told me “sometimes there’s simply no better word to describe some people.” and she is absolutely right.

So my fellow Australians, It’s time to wake up and take a long hard look at ourselves. Ask ourselves these questions and be really honest with the answers;

“What kind of person do I want to be?”

“What kind of society do I want to live in?”

“What future do I want to create?”

“Am I okay with letting people suffer while I do nothing?”

Every single one of us is in complete control of the answers we give and translating them into the reality of our world.

For me, I want to be kind and strong and stand above fear, I want a society based on caring, nurturing, and creating better ways and I want a future built on love, respect and humility. And I am absolutely NOT okay with doing nothing while others suffer! 

Is this too much to ask?

Happy Australia Day.

Artwork available from Redbubble

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