Just the other day a member of some Christian lobby group pointed out on Twitter that the ANZACs did not fight for an Australia that has gay marriage and Islamic migrants. Predictably this provoked a response, and even made it as far as the mainstream press.
Broadly speaking, if we are only talking about those that served in the two World Wars, he is right. However he left a few other things out of his list of stuff the ANZACs did not fight for. For the sake of a broader perspective, here are a few more.
The ANZACS did not fight for an Australia where:
- Pokies existed
- Sports could be a full time job
- Most of the houses had indoor toilets
- There was late night shopping
- There was Sunday trading
- Women could drink in public bars
- Sustainable land management mattered
- Polio was eradicated
- There was a Liberal party
- Calling someone a wog was unacceptable
- ‘Mixed marriages’ was a phrase without meaning
- Aboriginals had the vote
- Public figures could embarrass themselves in 140 characters or less
It turns out that by Jim Wallace’s logic, there are a lot of things the ANZACs circa 1914-1945 did not fight for. It is funny how a culture can change over time.
That the world they grew up in had different values does not make their sacrifices less meaningful now. They fought for the country I happen to live in and am rather fond of, and that is more than enough to deserve respect, even if I read RSS feeds while they used to read newspapers. Co-opting ANZAC Day to further a narrow, divisive political stance is a gross piece of political opportunism.
The list is far from complete, if you can think of more, add them to the comments below.
Photo Credit: Panoramic view of the Brisbane central business district, ca. 1922 via State Library of Queensland, Australia’s photostream.