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The Best Thing About Following America's Footsteps Is We Can Avoid Their Mistakes

We do not have to make the same choices made by those before us.

15/08/2017 3:35 PM AEST | Updated 15/08/2017 3:35 PM AEST
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"In the complex of fear and reaction, there is a path towards connection and decision."

On Saturday morning, as the rest of the world settled in to enjoy a restful weekend after another grueling workweek, news emerged from Charlottesville of a 'no hate' rally gone awry.

The rally itself stemmed from a decision by demonstrators to remove a confederate statue -- protestors were met with counter protestors, resulting in a violent clash of ideologies. People were beat with placards, flagpoles and bats. Some walked around bearing arms. Another drove his car into a mass of protestors.

In the midst of the chaos, law enforcement officials scrambled to restore a sense of order and calm. As we watched this all unfold on our screens, apprehension waited on bated breath -- what now?

As citizens of the world -- when events like this occur, on home soil or across seas -- we fear the next reprisal, will it be us next?

The U.S. has always been our measure for progress -- early adopters to which we turn. Take entertainment for example -- they had HBO, Hollywood, Netflix, and all that other good stuff long before the rest of us.

U.S. politics, and the nation's political climate provide similar insight into our own political future. For instance, the adversarial nature of our political system was exacerbated when we adopted the showmanship of the U.S. system.

Televised head-to-head debates, winner-takes-all narratives have become all too common in our election cycles; even though our elected leaders are dictates of their party rather than the undisputed heads voted for by the people (in the case of the U.S.). This among other examples of adopted cultural similarities should flag the American experience as one that reflects, in some way, the global experience.

And, if there is one lesson to come out of Charlottesville and the ensuing political response, it is that allowing civil discontent to go unresolved and unchecked can lead to a lot more than low voter turnout or 'fake news'.

The overarching themes of hyper-nationalism and iron fist politics have been reflected in countries all around the world -- Great Britain, France and Holland. Yes, even in Australia. Small pockets of the political spectrum have begun to find confidence in the progress of their American counter parts -- the reclamation of borders, the return to social uniformity, the restoration of mono-identity.

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Now, I'm not here to denounce or polarise -- to be perfectly honest, I'm tired of that. People are scared of something different and afraid of change, I can empathise with that. Contributing to the vacuum of noise and anger will do nothing.

I will say this though, we are all scared. As citizens of the world -- when events like this occur, on home soil or across seas -- we fear the next reprisal, will it be us next?

But, the great thing about being able to glimpse the future is that we do not have to make the same choices made by those before us. In the complex of fear and reaction, there is a path towards connection and decision.

Our humanity is deeply entrenched in our ability to connect within our difference. Only by understanding that feelings of isolation and disenfranchisement have the ability to unite us, can that decision be made; the decision to be better than we were before.

Because after the dust settles on whatever the latest conflict or dispute is -- the tears we cry and the blood we shed will remain the same for all -- regardless of race, religion or politics.

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