Australia celebrates a nation and its achievement, not a date

Australia celebrates a nation and its achievement, not a date. An editorial by The Australian newspaper.

We can trace three strands in our history — the deep Indigenous imprint, the settlers from the British Isles and the migrant mosaic, especially since World War II.

Australia Day is an opportunity to reflect on how richly interwoven these threads can be, when we are at our best. It’s especially important to seek closer understanding at a time of polarisation, frayed trust in institutions and sharp conflict driven by social media and bad actors. This is not incompatible with honest reflection or acknowledgment of the truth that all national stories have dark or contested chapters. …

The vast majority of Australians are indifferent to this political theatre and symbolic anxiety. They are deeply patriotic, even if many feel disinclined to articulate what exactly that might mean.

There is no grassroots push on any scale to change the date of Australia Day. This is probably based on the pragmatic view that giving in to activists would simply embolden them to up the rhetorical ante, and do nothing to improve poor Indigenous life outcomes.

It was discouraging to see Australian activists last year seeking to co-opt the extreme politics of the BLM fringe in the US, which has a very different racial history. Identity politics and campus-derived “critical race theory” — which has captured some mainstream institutions — are counterproductive because unbalanced “anti-racist” invective only deepens social division and reinforces the category of race when we should aspire to get beyond it. There are traces of this overheated narrative in this year’s Australia Day diatribes.

If the normals let the activists have their way and change the date, the activists just move on to some other demand to promote themselves and smear their political opponents.

It’s about not the money, huh? Demands for reparations of one million dollars per person, on the basis of race? Big time discrimination. Very divisive. Should have a fair bit of appeal to virtue signalers, who are safe in the knowledge that the taxpayers will pay, not them personally.