Our country is sick. Sick to its very heart. Our malaise, which has infected every aspect of our society, is an inability to actually have fun. We all talk about it, or governments encourage programs designed to provide it and we all profess a desire for our children to enjoy it, but the reality is we are obsessed with winning at all costs.
Tragically, we have come to a time in our young nations development where the only way we can enjoy ourselves is to win. Even when I watch or play social games I never hear anyone applaud an opponent for a good shot or a good play or great side step. The best we can do in terms of magnanimous displays is a perfunctory handshake and cold steely glare at our opponents after the game. Instead of positive heartfelt affirmations, what I generally hear is criticism from team mates or disgusting, almost pornographic, displays of triumphalism when people score goals or take catches or win.
It grips me with a profound sadness for I am clueless as to how we can remedy this illness. Its why so many kids (the ones that dont win) are dropping out of our society and out of sport and who can blame them. How can anyone feel a wholesome connection with a culture which will sacrifice its humanity for victory.
The problem is of epidemic proportions, it travels all the way through to the nations leadership. Our prime minister sees no problem in being party to the death of 700,000 Iraqis, if it helps him win the next election. He suffers no personal moral conflict imprisoning innocent asylum seekers for years on end, if it helps him stay in office. There seems to be no deception, no brutality nor immorality to which he will not stoop to gain victory. Hes even willing to sacrifice his own ministers, who, on their own admission, are guilty of nothing, to keep up a vacuous attack on the enemy, the Crowns loyal opposition. Its a win-at-all-cost mentality and its having a negative effect on our society as a whole.
Believe it or not, there are much more important things than winning a game or even an election. The Australian Labor Party lost power in Australia defending our right to freedom of association in the 1950s when they fought prime minister Menzies attempts to ban the Communist Party. Although the battle split their party and kept them out of power for years, they preserved our freedoms in the high court. They kept Australia free. And in the end what is more important, our freedom or their partys electoral victory our collective civil rights or a record tenure at the lodge?
Intriguingly, this whole attack on the Labor leader is an attack on this very right to freedom of association. And it is the freedoms of expression and association which are the key ingredients to a society capable of having fun. How can we think and act creatively if we have to check everybodys identity papers before we talk or play a game with them?
However, I think we can learn to have fun again. We can get over ourselves and enjoy ourselves without defeating, debasing or humiliating others. The easiest way to have fun is to play. And playing is about being able to think and act creatively, without fear of failure, because the consequences of winning or losing arent that serious. Apart from trying out a new kick or a new pitch or some new trick, we can also have fun enjoying other peoples creativity and play.
Im sick of it, all this triumphalism and brutality. Maybe Im just a big girl but hey, I just want to have fun, is it such a big ask?
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