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What Protests In The Middle Of A Pandemic Say About Us Down Under

So I really haven’t thrown my hat in the ring here given the politics of this past week or so but here’s what I woke up at 1:30am with on my heart. I hope it lifts your spirit a little, as it sure did mine.

See, we’ve been through a pretty intense couple months as a collective human bunch.

There are families and individuals who have struggled to put food on the table due to losing their livelihoods. Some of us have found ourselves rudely aware for the very first time of the mental struggles that come with social isolation, while those who for years have been all too aware of this have needed to lose out on even the little interactions that made the days and weeks bearable. All for the sake of doing their part in riding out this pandemic.

For some, it now means riding out increased physical or emotional abuse at home for a season with little support. For parents like Rach and I, home schooling while also juggling working from home or on site means our brains are physically about to explode.

The footy is out. Churches are out. Cafes until literally last week have been out. The pubs and live music is still largely out. The little things that keep us feeling human and connected to one another have been totally upended and it all hurts every single one of us.

Our family, with multitudes of other Aussies spent Anzac Day morning this year as a solo unit, out on our driveway with a candle lit. We stood there remembering some of the very human examples that contributed to the grit and determination that has made our nation what it is today. It honestly makes me emotional and very proud to be Australian.

This, along with so many other things have been adjusted and readapted to suit life during a worldwide pandemic. And credit where credit is due, we’ve responded notably well as a nation given the challenges. As a result, Australia has only a minor amount of Covid 19 cases around the country today.

So, when I think about the last few months and the sacrifices regular people have made for the sake of keeping our communities safe, it strangely heartens me to think that when anti-racism protests in the USA culminated in similar protests addressing the issues of our First Nation People across Australia... our knee jerk response as a nation has been that we were literally willing to risk bloody everything to allow them to take place.

I totally understand the cries of hypocrisy from people aimed at the government for allowing protests to go ahead unchecked. Certainly when it comes to the logical side of me, I actually tend to agree. Chances are we will likely see an uptick in Covid 19 cases in a couple weeks time. It puts lives at risk as well as the easing of lockdowns at risk.

The reason why it heartens me is that while it may be against our better judgment and logic regarding everything that Australians have sacrificed these last months. Yet to give our First Nation brothers and sisters the space to know they are loved and heard... while we’re all already bang in the middle of a trying season. It speaks volumes. Plain and simple. It is powerful. And it is powerful because it is risky and sacrificial.

It seems Australians largely didn’t need time to think this over. People and government, at the very least let this one slide with mere cautions and warnings to those attending... or at the most were at protests in person.

Positive to note that it seems Aussies didn’t become morons looting and rioting either. Cries of justice will tend to be lost when they are made with acts of injustice themselves. I would also make the prediction that any more than a single weekend of protests during a time of pandemic like this, would very likely push the boundaries of that kind grace given by government and regular Aussies. Nobody here wants to see a second wave of Covid cases and virus’ don’t tend to care for how virtuous the causes are of the people they infect. So there’s certainly room for a caveat here.

Nevertheless, the fact of whether it was the general public showing up last week in person, or in public attitudes of solidarity, or in those individuals gritting their teeth and putting up with it at home while being concurrently pissed at the timing of it all, or the fact our state and federal governments decided to waive handing out fines for people breaking these important social distancing laws etc while attending these particular protests. It all says something pretty profound if we are willing to hear it.

It says that Australians are a pretty dang well caring, sacrificial and certainly non-racist lot as a vast majority if you ask me.



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