“Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.” ― said President Herbert Hoover nearly a century ago. It was if he was addressing his present day successor Donald Trump’s inadequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Posts by Paul Smith
At first they nodded and smiled as usual on our daily walks. Nothing unusual there, it’s our neighbourhood.
But then the pandemic arrived and didn’t leave. For a few days we were confused and offered the same greetings, though we all knew nothing would ever be the same.
A very long time ago when I was an NBR media commentator, a senior Treasury official asked me what I thought about the future of TVNZ. I told him that its hyper-commercialism was driving viewers away; that people were sick and tired of ads and much of the network’s ratings-driven programming.
He paused, stroked his chin and looked into the distance. “Hmm” he said. “Here, we would call that a long term strategic loss.”
Bushfires still burn in Oz; Brexit vexited the Brits, and in America a new King was crowned by Republican Senators. You could sense an uprising to the elevation of President Donald to King Donald. Tears flowed and jeers echoed on both sides of the Atlantic, courtesy of television. These were passionate issues and sometimes you had to pause to wonder who, or what, lay behind them.
But no worries, because Down Under the Aussies showed that their sense of humour couldn’t be extinguished….
It took the devastating Australian bushfires to bring home to the country’s politicians that perhaps, maybe, they had to update their thinking on climate change. Perhaps, because that thinking remains dominated by an ideology which increasingly looks untethered to present day realities. Below are some of those realities:
We sat on a wide verandah and looked out on a backyard. Backyard? This one was huge, park-like and its green flowed past crimson flowered jacarandas on both sides for more than an acre. Finally it gave way to a to a lily-covered billabong under the shade of towering ghost gums.
He boarded the outbound 737 from Auckland looking out of place and time.
He was a Buddhist monk, replete with flowing brown robes, practical sandals and on his left wrist, corded bangles. Not a sober sort, he joked with other passengers as he settled into his seat. One asked him what religion he belonged to. A pause.