A fine line to walk for Australia

Thanks to the actions of a Very Large Nation, and those of a handful of hateful right-wingers, Australia now finds itself in a rather uncomfortable place.

On the one hand, we fight a constant battle against racism - both towards immigrants and tourists, and towards our own First Nations. The latter is deplorable, ingrained and we are gradually making some inroads on (albeit far too slow and late for far too many). The former ... we had largely gotten over it. Until three things collided with the sort of mindset that creates false dichotomies and can believe five mutually contradictory things at once.

The first was the idea created by a past Liberal government that refugees arriving by boat are somehow criminals. Never mind the various treaties we've signed that say otherwise. For whatever reason, Labor jumped onboard with this cruel lie, and set a horrible stage for the last 20-odd years. This re-sparked the ember that "Dem Forn Types" are somehow a threat to our way of life. It quietly smouldered, flaring a bit whenever the US got itself deeper into trouble in the Middle East.

Then came the Chinese government's more aggressive claims to various contested waters, the bulk of which at least three other countries have a far more valid claim to, combined with an increasingly draconian attitude to anyone who was not mainland Han. This primed the fuse for...

The 19. Which came out of China, probably, and there was a virology lab somewhere nearby, so obviously that was to blame, and the Chinese government (apparently in cahoots with Bill Gates, Elon Musk, the UN, the US Government, the Greens, the Democrats, pharmaceutical companies, Google, Facebook, the dog down the road, and aliens) are plotting to depopulate the Earth and mind-control everyone who is left. Or something like that.

All of which fuelled the minds of the paranoid, the disenfranchised, and those people who just have trouble with the idea that everyone should respect everyone else. (I'll will admit that the last part is almost impossibly hard - witness my own lack of respect for those who don't even try - but the bulk of us at least make something of an attempt.)

And that brings us to this fine and awkward line. How do we deplore the actions of an opportunistic government (and at the same time show reasonable suspicion for the products of the businesses owned by that government), while standing against those who would target the individual citizens of that nation, the greater bulk of whom are innocents? Without, somehow, giving this tiny, but very toxic and vocal minority ammunition to attack you, and at the same not giving the other government's actions any legitimacy?

It is a very hard line to walk.


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