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Is Trump like Australia’s prime minister?


By Robert Fischer
The U.S. presidential race has started to get attention in Australia. Their prime minister, Tony Abbott, has been considered an embarrassment to the country and they are hoping an even worse idiot will emerge in the U.S. that will turn the attention of the world away from Abbott’s antics. You can go online and google the phrase “Prime Minister DumDum” to watch some Abbott speeches and discourses. A bumbler and a stumbler, he ranks up there with the loose cannon comments of Donald Trump.
Australians are shaking their heads wondering how Abbott managed to get into office. “God help us” many of them are saying. Seems like we are not alone in our predicament. What has been going on Down Under is happening to us here Up Above. We wonder why every four years we have to watch a circus parade of presidential hopefuls.
Australia has a parliamentary political system, which means a “no confidence” vote of the legislature can toss the prime minister out and find a replacement. Here, it’s not even 2016 yet, and the cavalcade of contenders seems to have an opinion on everything — a bunch of motormouths that will say anything to get on TV.
There are some things we could learn from other countries:
~ Have a mechanism to put a president we mostly don’t like out of a job. There’s our impeachment process but it’s just not enough. Abbott will hang on a few months longer, but sooner than later he’ll get the boot.
~ Make everyone vote or be fined, kind of the same public obligation as jury duty. Show up or be hounded forever. Mandatory voting will force our politicians to appeal to everyone, not those who are considered most likely to vote and whose opinions need to be courted before others. Even let prisoners vote — they get pissed off too. People who are here illegally aren’t supposed to vote but they’re already doing it. It’s harder to get a library card than get registered to vote in this country.
President Obama recently visited a federal prison to point out that our criminal justice system isn’t working as it should be. Maybe he should show up at one of the key primary states to express an opinion at how inept our system of picking a president is.
Just to let you all know, we now have our own Abbott: the current governor of Texas, a job often considered to be a stepping stone to the Oval Office. Just wait until 2020 when Greg Abbott steps out of the shadows like that other Texas guy, Ted Cruz, has already done. We’ve had two presidents from Texas and both were duds.
If we get another one, a Constitutional amendment to prevent Texans from being president could become a reality. Texas would probably secede if that ever happened. They’ve already done it twice, from Mexico in 1836 and from the U.S. in 1861. They have enough territory and population to exist as an independent country, an energy supply, good ports on a coastline, and large agricultural and technology sectors. If they left the United States, as some of them have proposed doing, the northern states of Mexico might be tempted to pull off the same stunt. There are even a bunch of similar secessionists there waiting in hiding, and they’ve even created their own flag. Google “Mexican secessionists” to get information on this.
Talk about secession is a delicate topic. This brings up the Confederate flag business. So far, our Abbott hasn’t said anything, although there are plenty of Texans who would just as soon rally around the flag there… the Stars and Bars version. Australian Abbott would be making his voice go hoarse if the Aborigines there asked that the Aussie flag be taken town because of racist mistreatment way back when.
The Confederates lost their second war for independence (what they called it instead of the Civil War) and their flag should have been retired in 1865. Biafra lost their breakaway bid from Nigeria in the 1960s and their flag doesn’t seem to fly anywhere around there. If Australia’s flag were to be changed, what would replace it? One with a kangaroo and koala on it? Tony Abbott would go berserk.
I have an interesting story: Across from San Francisco City Hall there were a bunch of flagpoles that had every flag that had ever flown over the United States, Confederate flag included. One afternoon, a black man scaled that flagpole and ripped it off.
I cut out the newspaper article and sent it to George C. Wallace, the segregationist southern democrat governor of Alabama, who had flown a large Confederate flag over his statehouse in defiance of the federal government a few years before. Wallace wrote me back saying, “It doesn’t matter what flags we fly at the convention.” This was the year that San Francisco hosted the Democratic National Convention where Mondale and Ferraro got the nominations (1984?). Wallace remained a democrat, the last of the Dixiecrats who had once been a solid wing of the democratic political party (Lincoln, who had freed the slaves, was a Republican, remember?)
Sorry to digress. Both countries, the U.S. and Australia, have our own Abbotts. Trump is our version, and there of course is going to be a lot of others to come. I hope someday they’ll all remember George Wallace of Alabama who was gracious enough to finally take his foot out of his mouth before he kicked off.