An Open Letter to My Role Models - (I’ll keep this as short as possible)
Firstly, please do not take offence. This is not a personal attack on you. I am being in no way spiteful, vindictive or cruel. The simple fact is that you are the closest person to me who exemplifies a recent observation I’ve made.
On July 2, 2016 you voted for One Nation. You and so many other adults who taught me how I should see the world made the decision that Pauline Hanson is right; that we should shut the borders and consider all Muslims guilty until proven innocent. So many of my childhood role models who handed down to me their ideas, conclusions, philosophies and notions of life are now strangers.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, you’d recite sayings to me when I’d been bullied like ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’, ‘don’t stoop down to their level’ and ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. You told me that I’m perfect the way I am and to never be a second rate version of someone else. And so that’s how I grew up into this world; by treating others with respect, by being the bigger person in the face of nastiness and adversity, and by accepting anyone and everyone exactly as they are. Sometimes it was really hard. It’s so despairingly difficult to stand tall and be brave when you’re scared and alone. But you gave me these tools which I am so very grateful for, because life is better like this and my eyes see a supremely beautiful world because of it.
So, this is what plagues me; recent conversations I’ve had with many of my friends have shown that the beliefs and values of our childhood role models have changed in the deepest, most fundamental ways. The insidiousness of fear has caused so many people to go back on their word, no longer believing in the world they gave us. They’ve gone from the far left to the far right and it doesn’t look like they’re coming back anytime soon.
Here’s an example: You live in Albany. For anyone who’s unfamiliar with this town, Albany is a 5.5 hour drive south of one of the most isolated capital cities in the world. I can’t even describe how far off the map this place must be for anyone wishing to cause a radicalised ruckus. And even still, you said you’d never let my six-year-old sister ride the streets alone like I did as a child. I asked whether this was perhaps due to the increased awareness of sexual predators, but this isn’t why. Your fears are of a potential terrorist attack. With patience I’ve listened and asked questions to try and understand the logic behind your concerns, but the fact is that like so many other adults I know, the fear of terrorism is very real even though (to the very best of my knowledge) most of the 23.13 million Australians have never been anywhere near a massacre or a terrorist attack.
Most of us don’t like Trump. You and almost everybody else say he’s a narcissistic sociopath, and he absolutely is. But don’t you see that Hanson is Australia’s Trump? Perhaps ridiculous statements and inhumane regimes seems less ludicrous when they’re closer to home. I implore readers who share this same opinion to transfer the obvious comparisons across to Hanson and One Nation and reassess your critique.
Maybe I’m just some idealistic left-wing youth full of hope and dreams, but please understand that I have this outlook and this drive because of you. You taught me to fight and to hope no matter how hard or futile it may seem. Maybe most adults were like this back in their twenties, though I imagine that once you’ve established a routine, an identity and a level of comfort you’ve worked hard for to enjoy, the relentless stamina of the far left would seem exhausting and somewhat unnecessary. Any real change fought for in your twenties occurred in such small increments that it may have seemed an uphill battle and so eventually you moved on.
I’m an adult now and I can see how different we are as people. We share the same smile, the same extroverted personalities and the same nurturing qualities, but we see the world and the people in it very differently. Thank you so much for providing me the necessary foundations to help navigate my way through this life. Our world that is falling apart at the seams and the only real help we can offer from our cosy island is to remain open minded; to reassess our morals, our ethics and our opinions every single day. We live so very far away from the carnage we see every day on the front page of newspapers and TV. This desensitisation makes it easy to pretend it isn’t real, to turn a blind eye and to give our power to those who promise they’ll keep us safe, but just because it’s easy does that mean it’s the right thing to do?