We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream, and sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian
I listen to this song, and I can’t help but think it was obviously written in a simpler time in Australia (or the people who have written it and performed it were delusional). Written in a time where bikie gangs and king hits weren’t front page news. A time where people were allowed to seek asylum in our country without being judged, ridiculed, sent to detention centres on isolated islands, or turned around and sent home to conditions no human should have to suffer.I don’t think anyone shares that dream.
From all the lands on earth we come. That is what makes our country so great. Yet we can’t seem to find a way to all just get along. Australian-born Australians think we are “entitled” to have this land to ourselves. That immigrants should be banned. We were all immigrants once, but we forget that. We forget there were people here before us.
I am proud to be Australian. I love my country, I love my lifestyle, I love that my son gets to grow up in this paradise, in The Lucky Country. We CHOSE for him to grow up here. My husband is American, and we could just as easily have chosen there. But we chose here, because for all the complaints we have, we really are the lucky ones.
I know that our country has a checkered past. I know that there are things that have been done that cannot be undone, not even with an apology. I do not celebrate those things. Celebrating Australia, for me, means celebrating the great things about our country, while remembering the atrocities of the past. It means acknowledging that wrong was done, and promising that we will stand up and never let things like that happen again. It means evolving, educating and continuing to learn how to all live together and accept each other.
I celebrate our freedoms. Our right to vote, our right to an education, our right to live our lives without men in uniforms carrying guns patrolling our streets.
I celebrate our most basic blessings. A roof over our head, fresh running water, food on the table.
I celebrate our scenery. I truly believe we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The beaches and the mountains, so close together. The bush just a couple of hours away. We really have it all.
I celebrate our achievements. Sporting achievements, medical breakthroughs, inventions, scholars. Australia is a talented country!
I celebrate our nuances. The things that make us a little bit different. Our general laid back nature. Our Aussie Occa slang!
I celebrate our armed forces. Our men and women who have dedicated their lives to defending this country. The true, selfless heroes.
I celebrate being lucky enough to be born in this beautiful land. A land where our kids go to school without metal detectors. Without armed guards on duty. Without the fear that some lunatic could walk through the door with a gun. A land where the sick can get medical attention without needing a second mortgage or going bankrupt. A land with so much opportunity if you’re willing to work hard for it.
Don’t get me wrong. I can see a lot that is wrong with our country, too. We are becoming less tolerant of those who are different to us. We have an obnoxious sense of entitlement. We drink too much alcohol and have too much alcohol-fuelled violence. Our justice system is softer than I’d like it to be. It’s expensive to live here.
Even with all these problems, there is still no place I’d rather live and raise my son. And that is what makes me proud on Australia Day, and every other day of the year, to call myself Australian.