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Byron Shire
January 26, 2022

Here & Now #156 Electile dysfunction

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Here & Now 156 picS Sorrensen

Byron. Tuesday, 10.24am

It’s hot. Unseasonally hot. Even in the shade of the Beach Hotel’s rather elaborate roofing, I’m sweating. Walking didn’t help. I didn’t want to walk, but in this town it’s easier to get an intuitive counselling session with complimentary vegetable-dye tattoo than it is to get a car park. So I walked in from a parking spot near Suffolk Park.

It’s way too early for beer, I reckon, but three blokes in high-vis fluoro shirts at a nearby table beg to differ. Schooners sit in front of them while a ute, loaded with paint and ladders, and chained to a panting dog, sits in front of the pub. They don’t speak; their fingers dance on their phones.

Yep, a beer breakfast. It’s that hot. Summer hot. In autumn.

It’s not climate change, though. No. No way. Green scare tactics. It’s just unseasonally hot. The real issue confronting Aussie mums and dads is imminent invasion by boatloads of hungry unAustralians.

Bush fires in Tasmania and Canada. Drought in India. Heatwaves in Victoria and the Arctic. Floods in the United States. Britain’s wettest winter on record…

It’s not climate change, though. No. It’s just… not normal is normal. See? The real issue facing Australian families is jobs. The solution? Tax breaks for the rich. And no tax for the really rich. Now that’s innovative and agile thinking. (If you’re pissing yourself at this, that’s the trickle-down effect.)

There must be an election coming: fuss, artifice and the pig squeals of language being slaughtered.

I wish the election had some importance – but it doesn’t. It’s a pretence. A cruel joke. The two-party system has broken down, some say. But I reckon it’s functioning perfectly as intended: an illusion of choice when in fact there is none.

The country is mismanaged by the dullest of men; men who live in a bubble of privilege; career dullards growing fat on the common wealth; bloated parasites who have manipulated community trust into corporate advantage. Two teams, blue and red, same game.

The economy is a smokescreen, hiding a moribund ecology and a decaying society. Whoever is elected will ignore the people’s will. They will bow to power and bomb the innocent, grovel to the rich and watch the reef die, and abuse the needy (just because they can).

It’s quiet in the pub.

Next to the high-vis beer drinkers, is a table of younger people. One lad has his hair in a top knot and a Japanese character tattooed on his neck. The other fella is shaved bald and wears sunnies backwards on his neck. Two girls have more skin covered with tattoos than with cloth. The men drink beer. (It’s unseasonally hot.) The women, coffee. (But it’s not climate change.) This group too is silent, their phones appropriating their souls. They are barely there, shimmering in a hot autumn day.

Yes, there is no talking. The pub people are being absorbed by their phones.

On one table, a flashing phone lies next to a newspaper, having totally subsumed its human. Only a half glass of beer and an empty chair, remain.

In this ominous quiet, in these last days as humanity frizzles and disappears into the cloud, surely we will hear both parties screaming for urgent action on the genuine challenges facing us: climate change, Indigenous inequality, resource plunder, refugee abuse. Let’s listen for that critical call to action. Listen…

Nothing. A cricket chirps. A millionaire whistles…

I suppose it had to happen. Forsaken by politicians, their heritage privatised, people are abandoning the earthship; exchanging awful reality for fingered fantasy, talk for text, breath for credit.

It’s bloody hot, for May.

There’s change coming, but it has nothing to do with the election.


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  1. Just imagine if 50% or more of voters drew a line right across the voting papers in protest at unjust laws such as the recent anti protester laws.

    We could call it #draw a line

    No crosses in boxes, no supporting a corrupted system by participating in a vote when neither choice knows how to be fair or good with the people

    Imagine the shock if every working person in the country decided to draw a line with what passes for government of either faction

  2. HI S,
    it was nice warm in Ballarat , mostly.
    THE Economy will win the Election -not Mother Earth-not all Species -nor any Humans in the long run!


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