Editor’s Desk: In the grip of a pandemic, now’s not the time to cave in to parochialism

Headshot of Kate Campbell
Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
The Croods.
Camera IconThe Croods. Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Animation giant DreamWorks should send Scott Morrison a bunch of flowers and a thankyou card this week.

If it wasn’t for our PM’s clunky, bordering on offensive, analogy using its 2013 movie The Croods — seemingly likening us West Aussies to cave people — it would have stayed in its lane, as a largely forgettable kids’ movie, well behind the pack when it comes to classics like Frozen, the Toy Story series, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and, my personal favourite, The Lion King.

Now it’s been pushed into the public debate in some bizarre and unnecessary melding of politics and pop culture, it’s sure to see a spike on whatever streaming platform it’s on.

But I also reckon it’s bound to backfire in ScoMo’s face.

He’s only fuelling the parochial fires, the east-west divide, and in a global pandemic that’s a foolish game. Why denigrate the one State that’s keeping the nation’s economy from truly imploding by alluding to them as primitive, backward and afraid of the new world? Good one.

Seems ScoMo is modelling himself after Mr Bean.

I will state right here that I can be as parochial as anyone.

My heart beats black-and- gold and I love a good excuse to stick it to the Eastern States.

Dean Alston cartoon.
Camera IconDean Alston cartoon. Credit: The West Australian

But that’s not what we need right now — and I am talking about “we” as Australians.

Yes, WA has been very lucky. Perth has had several lockdowns, but besides the hellish month of April 2020, none have really lasted longer than four or five days. Let’s remember people in Sydney have been in lockdown for the past two months, with at least another month to go (although looking at its rising daily COVID-19 tally, you wonder how many people are actually obeying the rules).

I was stuck in Perth for the first lockdown, but moved to Geraldton and thankfully avoided the snap stay-at-home orders imposed this year.

I consider myself very fortunate to be in the camp where lockdowns have been the exception, not the rule.

Life seems normal where we are, and for some it can be easy to forget (if you don’t follow any news) that people on the other side of the country are still in the thick of it and they’re stuck in quicksand. We can’t let our luck turn into arrogance or cockiness either, because that is a very dangerous, and fragile, thread to pull.

We all need NSW to get it together and overcome this monstrous outbreak.

It’s scary to think what shape our nation’s biggest city will be in when lockdown is finally lifted, and how long it will take to recover.

What we can do is our bit to try and turn the tide (via vaccination) and adopt a more united, patriotic view of this crisis. We are in this with Sydneysiders. And Melburnians. And every other State and Territory. And don’t get me wrong it’s not all one-sided, there have been times when Mark McGowan’s fervent us-v-them stance while dealing with the COVID crisis has left me feeling uncomfortable too.

But a message for the people we look to, and elect, for strong leadership: stop acting like petulant children and pitting us against one another with pathetic political barbs, and focus on real, unifying action.

We are all in the same boat, trying to push the proverbial upstream. Fighting against each other is only going to make those CGI wastelands of ruined, factionalised cities depicted in various teen dystopian films seem like a portal into the future.

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