|EQI.org Home |
Bad People or a Bad System?
In the past few months I have learned a lot about the democratic process in Australia. I am sure it is similar to that used in many other countries, but I learned more about this one, and as a result of what I learned, I feel almost thoroughly disgusted.
There have been times when I wonder why I ever got involved in it and I question my sanity for staying involved. It is a lot like being involved in an abusive relationship with someone you care about. Or perhaps someone you need. Fortunately for me, I don't really need Australia or the particular city. I can live in other places.
But the people who do live there, who are trying to raise their families there, or who have family roots there from several generations ago -- and there are more than a few of those, can not just pick up and leave as easily as I can. So they must live amidst the waste, stench and rubbish, as it were.
They can try to change the people, hoping for the best each election, but it seems clear to me that the system itself needs to change.
Let me use an analogy. Let's say a child is living with abusive parents. And the system, the culture in which they live permits or even encourages child abuse. It won't help much to change the parents or put him in a different home.
But the reason I started writing this article is to point out the difference between a bad system and bad people. Of course I oversimplify by using the word "bad" but for now I will stick with it to make my point.
As I spoke with people in Goulburn about the local government and the local "leaders", this thought came to my head: I thought of asking people here if they believe the American people are good people. I suspected most would say yes. Then I thought of asking them if they believe the American people have a good government. I suspect many would say no.
So which comes first? It seems to be a chicken and egg issue. Do the people make the system bad or does the system make the people bad?
Many people tell me what a good guy Andy Divall is. Some of them feel a bit protective of him when they see how strongly I feel about what he is doing.
In Australia and New Zealand they have a saying, "Play the ball, not the player." That wasn't something we were taught in the USA. It could be one of the small things which add up to make a big difference in the cultures...
In America we were taught to attack, to kill, to destroy. To judge. To accuse. To punish. Oh, they are also good at judging, accusing, and punishing in Australia. It seems to be a Christian tradition. Actually it is more than a tradition. It is a fundamental part of ....guess what... the system.
So this brings me back to the question... does the system make people bad or do bad people make the system bad?
My thoughts are leading me in this direction when I try to answer that... my thoughts are saying "The system was designed mostly by people with good intentions (Surely Thomas Jefferson had good intentions...) but it wasn't perfect. (Also, things change) So smart people find the flaws in the system to use them to their advantage. And Andy Divall is a smart person. So can we or "should" we "blame" Andy for using the system to his advantage?
Andy surely wants nearly exactly the same things for his family as most men, most fathers. He probably wants them to feel secure financially. He probably wants them to have a good life, maybe he wants them to have a better life than he had. Probably his parents wanted the same thing for him.
They probably also wanted him to do well, for example, in school. They probably didn't like it if he got in trouble at school. They probably shared all the basic values of their culture and the local community.
One of those is making money. First, kids are rewarded with praise and honors for making what are called "good" grades. Then later society looks up to people who make a lot of money.
When I met Andy, he didn't seem like a person who was especially motivated by money. I didn't notice anything "flashy" about him. I didn't notice a gold watch, or a gold chain. He looked like an average guy. But he isn't average. He is a leader in a certain way. He is special in a certain way. He definitely is a hard worker. He hasn't made his money or his "fortune" by sitting in an office, pushing paper around. He goes out and works for a living. Interestingly, to be successful, he has to be able to get along with and influence the people who do sit around in an office and push paper around. In other words, the local government officials.
I personally wouldn't to have to deal with them. I wouldn't want to talk to them if I could avoid it. I consider myself a pretty fast learner, and I learned that a lot of what they say is BS - thus my desire to get a bullshit detector watch one day. ha ha
But it is actually no joke. I feel resentful about the amount of time I have spent trying to get some honest, direct, intelligent answers.
But all that resentment, hatred even, isn't good for my mental or physical health. I preach that we "should" each be more responsible for our own feelings, but I blame others for mine on a regular basis. I am sure my partner sees what a hypocrite I can be, but she is either too wise or too afraid to point it out to me.
All day yesterday she helped me. We sat next to each other most of the day. Each of us with our laptops. Working on our little ... sorry, *my* little crusade. She doesn't care about this as much as I do. She cares about me though and she wants to help me. For some reason she also likes to spend time with me.
We worked together pretty well yesterday. We don't always do that. I am demanding, impatient, critical, judgmental. She is insecure, insecure and insecure. She is afraid of making mistakes, of messing things up etc. But yesterday she was very helpful. We would stop from time to time for a little cuddle. it was nice. It was the way I have wanted to work for a long time. But I couldnt find anyone to help me. She helps me as much as she can, but she was very damaged at home and in school so now she is trying to rebuild her self-confidence. I am not sure whether I am good for it or bad for it. That is something that bothers me when I think about it.
I am pretty proud of her actually. She can do a lot of the little things I need help with now. Like upload and download files to my website. She will download this later, then read it and spell check it, then repost it.
She helped me make the poster. She helped me make the original little flyers She helped me make the PowerPoint presentation. She helped me make the YouTube videos. Yesterday she figured out how to take a powerpoint presentation and convert it to a youtube video. Now the video is up and running. I feel good about the work I am dong and about the way she is helping me. But I feel bad she is not doing what she does best -- besides loving and caring about people. She is a natural born artist. She doesn't think so but if you look at this page, you will see what I mean...
I think of Kevin Watchirs... I am starting to love Kevin. He has earned a place in my heart. This morning when I told him I was afraid of running out of time he said, "We will run out of time no matter what we do. This should have been done months ago. But I will take responsibility. I was waiting for some other bastard to come along and do it." ha ha. I like Kevin's sense of humor. Or humour as the Brits and Ozzies spell it.
He also said, "The people of Goulburn will thank you. There might be a half dozen or so who hate you, but justice must prevail."
Love.. I just thought more about that word... that feeling. I wondered how Kevin would feel by me using it. Then I thought of Leo Buscaglia's book - Love. It is the only book I carry with me from country to country in my back pack. I cry now thinking of the girl, the college student, who he wrote about that committed suicide.
Speaking of death and dying, my laptop seems to be dying quickly.
(xxx direct democracy tgg)
Other EQI.org Topics: