I’ve never been one to put a flag on my car, or drape one over my shoulders. In the past it was almost impossible to buy an Australian flag and the only ones that I can recall as a child were small shiny paper ones attached to short wooden sticks that were handed out to school children when the queen was visiting town. I loved those little flags.
In those days people bemoaned Australia’s lack of patriotism, our apathy and the careless way we celebrated our national day.
Since then things have changed and this was at first considered a good thing. People started celebrating Australia Day with more passion; people displayed the flag and draped themselves in the flag and advertisements on TV took advantage of this new-found patriotism and then reinforced this new patriotic Aussie day.
Then things went sour. People started taking offence at displays of patriotism. Indigenous groups used it as a protest day. Minorities of various types felt shunned and excluded as ‘Aussies’ paraded their Australianness. Then the usual voices of criticism arose. It now seems that Australia Day has become Divide Australia Day.
Now I feel if I put that little flag I loved on my car I would be branded a racist or a white supremacist.