Thoughts to self about new postcards series for this blog: what does it mean that a blog called Personal Political is now going to feature a series on domestic postcards?
Does this indicate that I'm losing my grip on the big picture - or at least, an attempt at a bigger-than-postcard-sized picture?
Ironically, while in my own life I'm more externally - you could say politically, in the broadest sense - engaged than I have been for years, this blog has less and less political material. I think that's partly because I feel that most of the Australian political material gets covered elsewhere and of course so does most of the international political material. I used to feel that I 'specialised' in keeping tabs on the situation in Iraq. I grew up with the Vietnam war, which fuelled my passionate anti-war political beliefs, and as I get older, I feel more and more strongly anti-militarist. (At the moment I'm writing an essay about the anti-conscription movement in Britain during WW1.) I've been passionately against the invasion of Iraq from the beginning and am appalled by the paltry state of public discourse on it. I try and contribute what I can on this blog but, as I've said, have done less and less of that recently - maybe that's a reflection of how almost beyond-analysis the situation there is. Though I don't really think anything is ever beyond analysis, even the most chaotic and irrational human actions.
I came to what I consider political maturity in England and continue to feel politically and to some extent socially dislocated in Australia (even though I am Australian). That's a can of worms I haven't even attaempted to unpack on this blog. But I have found that I can use my 'real' political voice here, whereas in real life I feel quite out of place politically. The options are narrower in Oz, especially for a non-party person such as myself.
This is going off on a tangent, but one of the really worrying aspects of global warming for me is the prospect of not being able to fly away from Australia. Okay, I know that's not on the immediate horizon, but having never been out of this country until I was 20, I've spent a great deal of my adult life away from it and travelling widely. Co-parent, who was raised in Asia, has also travelled widely. Raising Olle, we find ourselves continually telling him "yes, we've been to X", when, for example, a program about X is on TV. But I wonder how much of that travelling he'll get to do in his life, as airplane travel becomes more restricted or expensive.
Possibly an unnecessary worry, as he might turn out to be a stay-at-home type or some new technological fix will be found... (And there are always boats.)
Anyhow, the anxiety behind this thought is how stuck I would feel if I had to stay here forever. If I'd had to stay here forever. Maybe that 'stuckness' is a reflection of the claustrophobic dynamics in both my parents' families - in which everyone had spent their entire lives here, without even leaving the state, in many instances. Such was life in Sydney in the first 60-70 years of the 20th century. (My mother never left this country. My father first left it when he was 51.)
I don't know if such claustrophobia can be said to have roots in Australia's social history and geographical distance from Britain, Ireland and Europe (where the bulk of the population came from in the 19th century). I'd guess it does.
It's no accident then that postcards hold a special meaning for me - they let me feel connected to a world away from this one. They are a breath of welcome foreign air. They remind me that I know people and places elsewhere, that I have connections to those worlds.
There you have it - the personal political dimensions of my new series. (This was all stream of consciousness - I'm interested in what it revealed to me.)