I have mentioned my exciting childhood history of vandalism on the Game Under podcast before, but, alas, in recent years my vandalism has been limited to boring acts of civic duty, or incompetent attempts of upholding the ideals of beauty and truth. Unfortunately civic duty, no matter how well meaning, may never uphold an ideal, due to its inherent pragmatism. (Admittedly, it is usually used to support the ideal of love; but more often it simply perverts it.)
Nevertheless, I can't help myself responding when I come across stickers or scribbles by people engaged in public acts of self-pity. This is not something to be lauded, but it is an act of civic duty, since most acts of public self-pity are political statements.
Thus, when I came across the self-pity slogan Make Australia Great Again scrawled on a local stretch of the Yarra, I was doomed to self-degradation. Not only did this statement fail to tell us when Australia was great, it offered no ideas on just how to make Australia great again! Even worse, if we assume the greatness of Australia had anything to do with its culture, the use of the slogan itself suggested that Australia was still great, as one of the few cultural inclinations that can be traced back to the very beginnings of anything like a national character (if such a thing even exists; the experts are divided) is jealousy and fear of America; depending on whether you were for or feared liberty (revolution).
To make matters worse, Australia Day was just around the corner. So, when the day of national celebration and condemnation came along, I couldn't help myself, and walked down to the Yarra with a Sharpie in my pocket; all ready to perform my patriotic duty of participating in civil society.
So, taking the statement at face value, I assumed that something must have changed in Australia at some point, even if my fellow citizen wasn't sure what had. Along the way there was plenty of evidence that a lot had changed even very recently: instead of a bunch of drunken fellow citizens enjoying the resplendent surroundings of the Yarra on another meaningless public holiday, there was a convoy of cyclists riding past with Australian flags waving in the wind protruding from their helmets and/or bicycles (this must be terrible for aerodynamics; nevertheless, all were dressed in Lycra—something to be ashamed of not so long ago), and instead of people paddling past on cheap kayaks or canoes, there were whole teams of rowers spending the public holiday training! What the fuck? There was even an expensive yacht with an Australian flag as big as its bow motoring along this residential stretch of the Yarra, not showing off in the city. At least its spiffily-dressed sailors were almost certainly drunk; further flaunting their wealth by sipping on full glasses of (presumably tremendously expensive) champagne.
But this sort of change is a bit hard to encapsulate in a pithy slogan, so I humbly suggested that Australia could be made great again with decolonisation; colonisation being the most obvious, and greatest, change in the history of this country—a country that suppresses its own history in the most effective way possible: making it as uninteresting, unimpressive, and pathetic as it can. As a result, everyone's heard of Captain Cook and the convicts He shipped to Australia on His First Fleet, but not much else. Oh sure, some people know there was a gold rush in Victoria, but other than making a bunch of true blue cobbers rich, it probably didn't affect the state much—let alone the country—right? And fuck rich cunts, anyway! Well, maybe not anymore, since politicians have started affecting posh, educated accents, rather than middle class (British) or bogan ones (unless they're Lotharios), and I find myself living not in South Yarra, but Soho Yarra; I digress.
Now, while I do not believe in censorship, other citizens do, so rather than coming up with a suggestion that might be better for making Australia great again than my own modest proposal of decolonising it, they simply crossed it out. So I came up with a few alternative solutions, as well.
The White Australia policy wouldn't really have much material effect on the country, but it would result in better integration for incoming migrants, because we'd be importing migrants explicitly supported by the country's racial policy; that's better than being supported by a shitty citizenship test that most citizens can't pass anyway. Which would you rather be told on becoming a citizen: you're the people just like us who we like just because you're just like us (incidentally, you're a fucking wog and we still hate you, cunt), or: we begrudgingly accept you, because you're smarter than most of our dumb as dog shit citizenry, but, hey, at least we're still racially superior, so fuck you, too, mate? Indeed, the current policy results in a feeling of inferiority for the citizenry, as it provides objective proof that once a migrant has stayed in Australia for long enough to be able to take (and pass) a citizenship test, they have in fact become better citizens than the citizenry itself!
The gold rush, which not only materially affected Victorian history, but Australian, British, and even world history, was surely a time when Australia (or at least Victoria), could be considered great. Another gold rush would enrich the country's economy, while solving unemployment for a brief period of time (albeit simultaneously resulting in a massive labour shortage), all over again. Then we can go through another crippling depression, but at least a lot of great architecture and institutions will have been built in the meantime.
Censorship. Now, other than allowing us to spend less energy thinking or being outraged, I can't really imagine how it would make things much better for anyone.* But apparently this was the only plan anyone else could come up with to make Australia great again, so I thought I'd mention it, as my fellow citizen was only cable of drawing squiggly lines, and not actually writing it themselves and, as you can see, their plan failed as I simply rewrote the same statement. At least they were leading by example?
Importing criminals would not only complement a new trend in Australia's post-war history of copying America (specifically: sadism for profit; or, the privatisation of punishing criminals), but also give Australia a pliable labour force that would work not only below the minimum wage as migrants do today, but for no money at all; instead they need only be promised clemency! Almost-but-not-quite slave labour, a new market (human trafficking of the criminal class; a throwback to Captain Cook's First Fleet), and more jobs for Aussie tradies (someone has to build the penitentiaries)! Everybody wins.
Luckily, someone else came up with a better, apolitical statement, subsuming my own—and my fellow citizens'—bullshit. It may not have made Australia great again, but it certainly made this little patch of concrete a bit better than it was before.