Yes We Can. But can we in Australia?

This is why politics in America is such a hot subject. Passionate, statesmanlike speakers with a real message of change and hope. Beyond that, inspiring others to participate and get the message out. Will.I.Am of the Black-Eyed Peas has put together something special here – I’ve watched it several times and still choke up. It’s very reminiscent of the feelings I get when I hear We Are the World or Do They Know It’s Christmas?, perhaps even more powerfully so.

Barack Obama truly excites me as a politician. He is articulate and inspiring and can write his own stuff – the 2004 Democratic Convention speech that really brought him into the spotlight was his own work. His books, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream were two of the most affecting things I have ever read.

But we have nobody in Australia that inspires anything like this kind of passion in the public, nor anyone delivering a message remotely inspiring. Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong both spoke eloquently at the Bali Climate Change Summit, but they were dead boring. Wong’s speech in particular was sleep-inducing – all the right words and no emotion whatsoever.

I hold out hope that the Australia 2020 Summit can bring to the fore some new and inspiring voices for change in Australia.

Laurel also has some thoughts on this issue, as does ServantOfChaos’ Gavin Heaton.

4 Replies to “Yes We Can. But can we in Australia?”

  1. Would it be fair to say that in Australia we lack culture, or that ours is more laid back in aspect yet no less rich than the culture of other countries. I don’t want to say no-one in this country cares about anything or gets excited about anything … because there are many people who are very passionate about what they do and about the world and change (or maybe it’s just because I choose to hang around that group of people and while my social circles are saturated with such people) – but collectively as a nation, we’re lethargic. We’re so distanced from the world’s problems across the seas that we believe we’re dissociated from the world community … as long as everything is cruising along nicely on our little rock it’s ok. As long as the Government is screwing us over too badly and keep most of their campaign promises and we still get our annual leave and get to keep our house … then we’re happy.

    Is it that life really is good here and that the small niggling problems aren’t worth worrying about?

    It’s hard to get perspective when you’re inside the glass jar.

  2. The problem is that we are not stuffed enough yet*. The Howard-Rudd election was fought under the rallying cry of “we will stuff things up less than the other guy”. Not exactly compelling. Now America is more obviously stuffed than we are at the moment – hence the popularity of charismatic leadership.

    *or rather not enough people perceive things as being sufficiently stuffed up to do anything about it.

  3. As an American living in Australia, I find the contrasting attitudes on politics very intriguing. It’s a welcomed change here that I don’t necessarily live under the shadow of Bush any longer, but I do wonder if politics are TOO relaxed here. I have appreciated what Rudd has already done for the environment and am excited to see what he’ll do next, but his cabinet needs to be a bit more confident to stand on their own two feet, without relying heavily on the Bush administration. (Or whomever comes next.)

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