Private schools, American exceptionalism, Burning Man and Australian "fair go"
I was decorating yesterday so listened to a few of your episodes that I hadn't gotten around to. Usually I listen to them as they come out so it was really interesting feeling out all the connections between them (Ian, Gaya, Gladys, Clancy and Tyson - it was a lot of decorating!)
And after reading this post today, the beautiful questions I'm curious about are 'do we even want to survive?' and 'is all of this an act of global self sabotage?'. When I listen to people like Gladys or read accounts of the 30s/40s, an overwhelming desire to survive comes across. Do we have to face the worst situations, personally/up close, in order to see the bigger picture, feel an overwhelming need to act and understand that we must all work together to make it through? Maybe that's too much to ask of humans in such a competition driven society. Would we prefer to lose it all than to check our egos?
Its baffles me... Help
Vote cast! I wished more of us listened to things like your Wild podcast. About important topics that widen our brains and horizons and get us to think about things (with curiosity!) - fingers crossed.
Really enjoyed the rest of your substack too.
Re Burning Man, I read an excellent piece on Narratively from someone who was there, really insightful. Especially how there's the leave no trace rule and yet people just wanted to get out of there, they left their cars and RV's stranded, it could be someone else's problem to get them out :(
Also, I went to the Santos gas protest in Sydney yesterday. There were a few hundred people there. People were honking their horns at us because the traffic hold up was inconveniencing them. I thought, I'm also inconvenienced, I also have other places to be today, rather than protesting yet another new fossil fuel project.
A student from Western Sydney asked me to fill out a form on why I attended and one of the questions was 'what was I feeling?' I chose:
- Proud: because I'm glad I showed up, that it helps me sleep at night and that I can say to kids and people that I actually try. Rather than just complain about the heat, fires etc, I take action. I walk the walk.
- Empowered: because it's my democratic right to protest, especially with new anti-protest laws.
- Worried: because sadly I felt like it's probably not going to change anything because not enough people came. Ironically this is was all happening as Sydney was shrouded in smoke from back burning so it will only be much worse from raging bushfires. What we were protesting (fossil fuels, climate change etc) was the thing that causes such a grave risk for bushfires, yet so few showed up :(
Sarah, do you have any other previous posts on the Australian private schools issue? I would be very interested to read, it’s a curious topic for me currently!
Vote for Sarah #WILD ✅
It was voting for your WILD Podcast 🙂
I’m an American who lived in the UK (albeit Scotland which I think has a whole different vibe than England), and it was so eye opening to see my home country through the lens of the people I met there. It made me notice all sorts of things I’d never considered before, and made for quite a disillusioned return to the US a few years later. Still reckoning with living in the US and seeing it in this new, more honest light!
Your thoughts about 'why would anyone live in the UK' really press directly on a sore point, as someone who feels this intensely but has also lost the freedom of movement they once had. Visas are possible to obtain for European countries but they're not easy or guaranteed. Just one of the many acute senses of loss in the UK post-Brexit years. (Maybe a gloomy take, but I don't think I'm alone in this!)
I think the most disappointing outcome on Oct 15 will be the realisation of how the Gov & yes campaign completely misunderstood the concerns of the no vote & broadly showed apathy towards wanting to understand. In point form:
- The vote is a bundle of two components - constitution recognition AND the voice. Most no voters would vote yes to recognition but alas they can't.
- Not one yes campaigner has been able to answer what they think would change. Not what the voice is, or how it would work or the mechanics. Most people get this. For example, I have asked numerous people & even talk back radio to provide one example of a concern/change/outcome/action etc they think we may hear/learn from the voice that we don't already know. Not one person has suggested anything.
- Leads to the fact most no voters see the indigenous challenges as Government incompetence & an execution problem - not a lack of knowledge or being heard.
Case in point the ineptness of this campaign and providing a referendum with two questions.
We could at least have constitutional recognition - something the majority do believe in.
Just voted WILD again for the Australian Podcast Awards. I'd like to see you win Sarah X
I just wanna hide under coats 🤦♀️
Hi Sarah - a bit late to commenting here, but just to add:
Private schools: I might be wrong here but it seems like most private schools in Australia receive government funding? This is NOT the case in the US. I've worked with the independent school system here in a previous career and while they are not crying poor they're also on their own when it comes to raising money for building projects, scholarships, professional development, etc. I wish this were the case in Australia. The private school system needs a wake up and their money should be going to fund other public schools. Trust me - many have an adequate alumni system to tap into.
American exceptionalism: married to an American and living in the US for the last twenty years. I have to say it has become worse and their whole concept of nationalism while everything is going downhill (politics! Health care! Being woke! Not being woke enough! Social media! The Economy!) just makes me cringe. With the upcoming election (and one in the UK next year) I am nervous and also curious to see how this all plays out. It's not all bad but the bad bits are taking over more and more :(
The UK: in the past five years I have lost count of the number of times I have said that I am glad my (British) father and grandparents and other older family members are not alive. The ONLY reason being that they would just be utterly appalled at the state of things now across the board. Especially my grandmother. And I miss my dad terribly - he would 100% have the right words to say to keep things perspective while also providing some thoughtful responses to discuss.
Referencing your Australia content Sarah: That the construct of the Voice proposal is unhelpful to achieving justice to the citizens whose origins are from 'Terra Nullus' is becoming starkly evident. Result; strengthened polarisation of the Nation which means weakened overall. Why have the choices made and outcomes seen elsewhere been ignored? I give you next door NZ; that the UK signed a Treaty, with all its shortcomings, provided a foundation on which all could equally stand - as it was a State legal instrument. Even after many actions that broke its letters, in the last few decades it has allowed acceptable justice and redress to occur. These recent actions, based on a formal, structured approach have also served to bring the majority of the population along with the change. Most outwardly notable is the acceptance of the First Nations language and its current everyday use.
Unfortunately, Australia doesn't have an equivilent instrument. If we put on some capitalist/business glasses, no one would sign up, either way, to the Voice strategy. Over time, before and after the Uluru Statement, it appears that polititions collectively have not joined hands on the shared Australian ideal of the need of 'a fair deal' or measurable levelling up of the Firsts alongside the Seconds...
If the above is so, until a legal foundation is in place, inequities will sadly prevail. Continuing approaches that after much good intent and investment, have delivered life expectancies circa 10 years less to the Firsts is not a fair go. This a world-level rich country with more coming (100's of new mines - the foundation of national wealth - recently slated) that can, and must, start and stay the course of likely decades to rectify. Again, a look elsewhere will show stark reminders of what may well happen, even to the lucky country, if business as usual persists...
p.s., why did nz not join oz in 1901? Because of the then concern of the effect on their 'Firsts'...