What a mess! Brexit, Trump and now us. And after almost twenty years in the political wilderness, Pauline is back promoting a lot of fear-mongering nonsense.
Truly, I shouldn’t give her air to breathe and I apologise in advance for doing so, but like so many people who live in liberal slash, left-leaning slash, pinko-wanko slash, Victoria, I’m fascinated by her resurgence in the current political climes.
A Royal Commission into Islam? Climate scepticism taught in schools? Should we laugh or cry, or do both?
And before I mention my orchids, let’s consider Derryn who flouts the law that gives everyone the right to a fair trial, including sex offenders. Soon he will be sitting next to Pauline in the Senate, making the laws he’s spent his life flouting.
We might have sniggered when Ricky Muir and Jacqui Lambie et al were elected to the Upper House but post-election, 2016, Bob Katter’s looking good and there’s a whole lot more sniggering we could do.
While all this election babbling has been happening, my orchids have been coming into bloom. What’s that got to do with Pauline? I ask myself as I stand in the back yard and admire them. And I come up with no answer other than to tell you that I secretly think of myself as The Orchid Queen and have crowned myself accordingly.
I have no idea why my orchids grow so brilliantly. Certainly they face east in a lovely semi-shaded spot. I throw a bit of fertiliser on them when I remember, which is every couple of months. And I now keep water in their saucers after someone told me it replicates the tropics where daily downpours give them a good drenching and they suck up water with their roots.
This is my pink orchid in bloom two years ago, before I divided it up. It was tall as me. Can you believe it?
This is my first orchid to bloom this year. How stunning are its dense golden fronds, it’s bird-like flowers?
My orchids make me happy. I admire them and stake them and show them off by bringing them inside. They give me the sort of pleasure that makes the madness of Pauline fade into distant giggles.
You may not be aware of it but while the Brits have been voting to get rid of the Poles, Poland has had similar concerns. After electing a right-wing, conservative government as a protest against the world not being the same as it once was, they’ve now realised they’ve cooked their goose, so to speak, and don’t want a befuddled, church-influenced government that is hell bent on removing their hard won laws and freedoms.
Like post-Brexit Britain, the Poles are protesting. My husband’s niece, who recently retired from her town planning position with the Warsaw City Council, tells us she has a new job as a professional protestor! Go Isa!
All this hate and fear and xenophobia, what’s it all about? Where will it end?
For reasons I don’t fully understand, I am the ultimate Pollyana optimist. When I was in Ireland in the nineties, I questioned a taxi driver about the ‘troubles’ of the time. He was something of a Pollyana himself. He said there’d soon be peace in Ireland because the young people, North and South, Protestant and Catholic, were marrying each other.
He was right of course. Ten years later the peace accord was signed.
I’m inclined to think that in two hundred years, Pauline and Trump with be footnotes in history, the whole world will have inter-married, bigotry will have fewer places in which to take root, and we will have devised a more equitable political system. Is that too much to hope?
In this week’s post-election analysis, you may have noticed the interesting fact that Pauline was married at 16 and had two children by the time she was separated and heading for divorce at 21. And who did she marry? A Polish refugee!
When I told my husband this fascinating fact — he’s originally from Poland and ended up in Australia by accident when the Swedish navy left him in Melbourne to have an operation — he said: ‘At least Pauline’s not Polish.’
In such small ways, we find solace!
And so we cling to our orchids and our protest marches, to our right to vote (even for Pauline and Derryn), to bumbling along in our imperfect democracies, and in our Pollyana hopes for better things.