Off to Australia and Other Thoughts

australia_map

Posting has been a little slow the last two days.  I’m heading out for Australia on Saturday morning and I have been busy trying to get my shit together.  I am meeting my parents there.  They have been there for about two weeks already and have told me some interesting things about Australia.  Australia has, like most of the modern western world, universal healthcare.  They also have a high minimum wage.  Every Australian must also, by law, vote.  If they don’t vote they either get a fine or must do community service.  Most of the people that they have talked to there seemed stunned by the poverty that exists in the US.  I’m interested in talking to people when I get there about this sort of thing.  When you travel abroad it is constantly amazing at how closely people follow US politics in other countries, especially when we often know so little about those countries in return.

When I fly I like to take one serious book and one for fun.  I will continue reading S.C. Gwynne’s biography of Stonewall Jackson, that I have talked about here.  I also am going to read a biography of AC/DC that got really good reviews.  (I am obsessed with The Civil War and AC/DC at the moment.  Don’t question how my mind works!)  That biography is called The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC.

I just finished watching Ken Burns’s The Civil War last night.  The last episode was about what happened after Lee surrendered.  I couldn’t help but wonder if all of the accolades we bestow upon warriors is actually harmful to the warriors themselves.  In heaping praise on the profession of being a soldier, in making what they do be seen as a lofty profession, do we not make it easier for ourselves to put them in harms way?  I’m not saying we shouldn’t value what they do, nor am I a utopian.  There are some really bad people in the world and we need soldiers to keep us safe from those people.  I simply mean in making monuments to them, especially to generals and the like, and creating a sort of cult of worship, do we allow ourselves some kind of remove from what they are doing and what we are making them do?  Just questions without answers.

Well I will have internet in Australia.  I also hope to be on here more before I leave, but no promises.  If I’m being honest I can’t tell if I knew I needed to update my blog, or if I just wanted to put off cleaning my house for 20 minutes!

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