An army of the aggrieved has taken up residence in Australia and no one is game to tell them the truth: life in Australia, right now, right here, is not so bad. We're living, arguably, in the best place in the world, at the best point in its history.
No one wants to mumble this sunny truth, because it's so much easier to pander to the pessimistic. "We can feel your pain." "Life must be so tough." "We understand what you are going through."
Besides which, if you don't pander, if you tell the sunny truth, you are quickly slapped down: "You just don't understand", or "that just proves how out of touch you are". Then out comes the wagging finger: "You should try being Aboriginal." Or young. Or old. Or gay. Or a refugee on Manus Island. Or a divorced dad done over by the Family Court.
The list is endless, but adds up to this conclusion: it is wrong to take any pleasure in Australia unless everything is perfect. The point of comparison is always with this imagined immaculate world: one that has never existed in this country, and is yet to exist anywhere else.
Here's the problem: no one wants to stand between a fellow Australian and this hunger for feeling aggrieved. And so we end up with an echo chamber of discontent, in which every attempt at optimism is shouted down – the present always worse than an imagined, lotus-eating past.
Where did this myth of perfectibility come from? Being aggrieved can, of course, be a good thing; it can be the force that makes the world a better place. But – for individuals and for nations – it can also strip you of happiness, momentum and even ambition.
Before the next election, perhaps we need a new political rallying cry. It could be something red hot like: "You know, life is not that bad."
But who among us will have the courage to admit to our national good fortune?
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