2001: A Race Odyssey

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than watching the right resort to shrill when we of the left voice an opinion that they disagree with.  They are like seagulls at a loose chip.  Funny to watch.  How often have we thrown away a chip for the enjoyment of watching them do battle?

The name John Howard is a prized chip.  I love to drop it.  It brings the seagulls in, squawking, flapping, fighting each other.  Only one seagull wins.  The losers turn against the winner.

So typical of the right.

I’ve often wondered what this country would be like if John Howard hadn’t have turned the 2001 election battle into one of race.  Would we still be a country where xenephobia dominates the political landscape?

Malcolm Fraser opened the doors to a quarter of a million Vietnamese refugees and papers released under the 30 year rule show that Howard bitterly opposed this.  His ideals in 2001 were unchanged.  But supposing they had, and race was not entered into the 2001 political equation, would Abbott have shown the same kindness in 2011?  Is there anyone in the Liberal Party who would have?

Conversely, is there anyone in the Liberal Party who, if leader, would have abandoned the xenophobic shrillness created by Howard and perpetuated by Abbott?

More importantly, would we be a better and more racially tolerant country if John Howard hadn’t have degenerated the 2001 into a racial slog?

I believe we will be.

There are two photos below.  One is a creature who squawks a lot, bites the necks of others while fighting over the spoils, then flies off and shits on people.  The other is a seagull.

Cape Gull (Larus dominicanus vetula)

Image by Lip Kee via Flickr

John Howard in Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia in...

Image via Wikipedia