Undoubtedly, we grandparents want to leave this world a better place for our grandchildren though problematic situations bombard us, and we may be suffering from compassion fatigue. News stories about young children suffering chlorine attacks, running from their homes, mistreated in detention, leave us feeling numb, powerless, even depressed. Those feelings are precisely what we need to overcome because there’s little chance of the world becoming a better place for our grandkids without us being galvanised into action.
Is the world really in a dire shape?
I initially wanted to say the most serious threat to the future of our little grandkids is climate change. But now, watching the rerun of a TV program on Pauline Hanson, I’ve revised that opinion.
Hanson is an Australian politician whose words bear similarity to Donald Trump. The latter needs no introduction. Much in the rhetoric of these politicians appeal to disaffected, disenfranchised voters who feel they have lost a voice for their concerns. Neither Hanson or Trump have coherent policies to offer, instead they tap into populist resentment with assertions based on untruths.
Twenty years ago Hanson vilified Indigenous Australians and Asians, and in 2016 she maligns Muslims. Waving the race card then and the religion card now, Hanson believes that she’s representing the silent majority and keeping “the bastards” in Parliament honest.
And what’s to blame for this sad state?
With remarkable prescience, four years ago former US Supreme Court Justice David Souter elegantly surmised “democracy cannot survive too much ignorance.” Americans were warned to beware civic ignorance because voters would put power into the hands of a dictator who promises to solve the problems that were not being solved. Civic ignorance, in Souter’s view, arises from US voters not knowing who to blame for their problems.
Disaffected Australians (and I count myself as being tired of mainstream politics) then usually look for someone to blame. Many on both sides of mainstream political parties have buried their own moral compasses, instead focus on petty power plays. But can we just blame a whole community of people based on their colour and creed?
Sure some immigrants live in “ghettoes”, can’t speak English, don’t eat fish and chips, and won’t adopt democratic ideas. The reasons are complex. But hasn’t our country been enriched in so many ways – food, culture, medical advances to name a few- from the contribution of most immigrants? The prejudice is worse when we refer to refugees.
I agree, Shariah law is not a standard that the general community want to live by but really are all Muslims to blame for all of Australia’s problems? Ms Hanson have you heard the accusations before Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse? And does Jesus not teach that “let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone”? By all means let us debate some of the extreme beliefs of the Islamic religion and other religions but demonizing the unfamiliar is not the answer.
Hanson went on record saying “for the sake of our children and our children’s children, we must fight on.” As an Australian of Asian heritage, I can personally testify that racial abuse spiked when Hanson was first elected to the Senate. As her political star rises once again, that’s the one statement of hers I can agree on – continuing the fight against ignorance and blind prejudice. I don’t want my grandbaby called a mongrel for his colour or creed, or any other baby to be vilified.
So what do we do?
Grandmas can be a tremendous positive force for change. There are over 250 grandmother groups across Canada who have raised millions of dollars for AIDS grannies in Africa. In Australia outraged grandmothers are campaigning against the detention of refugee children – the photo above was taken from their Facebook page. Wherever we live, we grandmas want to stand up against ignorance, injustice and intolerance. That’s one step towards leaving this world a better place for our grandbabies!
wishing sweet dreams to every grandbaby, Poh-Ling