I am both a citizen of the United States and of Australia.
And it seems that no sooner than I decided to start blogging once again (aka my own personal echo chamber) that these two attributes of my life were destined to collide.
This week, Mr. Trumphole called the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as a general meet and greet as well as to talk about an existing deal to settle some of the refugees in Australian’s intake facility into the USA. We’re talking a bit more than 1,000 people that have been waiting
months years to resume a normal life. And 25 minutes in to an hour long phone call, Trump announced this was the worse call with a foreign leader of the day and hung up on Turnbull in mid-sentence.
Here’s how it was reported:
It’s now the lead story on every paper in Australia.
The Lucky Country
Yes, one of my many monikers that I’ve picked up throughout my life is Lucky. Just so happens that Australia is also known as the Lucky Country. I cannot confirm nor deny that this name is in honor of my immigration here.
Most Americans do not have to weigh the emotional pull between two countries. Very few Americans understand the immigrant’s dilemma. I was born in the USA, but I now live, as I have for 12+ years, in Australia. Typically, Americans move interstate, not internationally.
So … which country do I like more? Inquiring minds want to know.
It’s not one that I can answer easily, because the love of them is different.
America is my mother. The formation of my being, the very fabric of my soul, is American. In the 12 years that I’ve been here, my Okie accent is still very strong and in tact. I refuse to accept footy or cricket or rugby or lawn bowling.
On the other hand …
Australia is my wife. I have fallen in love with a country that reminds me of home, but has had surprises and delights that I’ve come to know over time. I enjoy being different here. For the first time, I’m unique – marked by the way I say my words or the uniquely American mindset that we Yanks share.
It’s not a matter of competing for space in my heart. Australia is where I have gladly chosen to live, but America is who I am.
It is said that the UK and the USA enjoy a “Special Relationship”. Despite being a nation of immigrants, the antecedents of our political system, our philosophies, our persistent hope in overcoming, and our core values are distinctly British. In this way, you could say that England is the American mother.
If that is the case, then there are only two other countries that can share this understanding. Large countries with open lands with native peoples that were discovered late in our collective history and explored with optimism growing with the arrival of each new horizon. Manifest Destiny and all of that.
That is Canada. That is Australia. They are our siblings.
Canada – all Americans already know about. They are the super nice neighbors of the North who love hockey and bear wrestling.
Australia less so. Down here we tend to be considered a beach paradise filled with clownish characters in the form of Mick Dundee or the Crocodile Hunter on the other side of the planet.
What people back in the US might not know is that Australia has been lockstep with America, even when we bumbled into disasters. On every battlefield that Americans have died since the Great War, Aussies have been there spilling their blood in that same mud. While Americans of today may have forgotten, the valor of Australians in battle is legendary.
The Australian SAS are considered among the very best special forces units in the world, perhaps only behind the British SAS … and peerless when it comes to desert warfare.
Hmm, that sounds useful nowadays, eh?
WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, Afghanistan, Iraq II, the War on Terror. Australians have been there.
Mateship is a cardinal virtue down here. Americans are mates and where they have gone, Australians have followed. Loyal and true. Australia is a big-small country. Lot so of land (equal to the continental United States), but a small population (less than Texas). So it might be easy to think of AUS as inconsequential for the politically or historically inept.
Donald Trump big-brothered Australia. Like he might to a business partner or a vendor. Throwing out a “You suck”, knowing that they smaller business will have to eat the bullying in the hopes of profit or rewards.
That is not how internationally diplomacy works. That is not how the leader of the free world operates. That is not how you treat an ally like that. Particularly one that has so often put aside their own worries and reservations to stand with a mate in wars they have started.
America, we’re better than this.