It’s easy to move to the other side of the world. It’s easy to say goodbye to your family, your friends, your life. It’s easy when you miss your sister’s wedding, the birth of your nephew, the death of your father.
It’s easy to take all that you have and place it on the roulette of hope. It’s easy to fashion a new life from a backpack. It’s easy to pack your entire life in neat little boxes. It’s easy to arrive in a new country with a destitute social circle. It’s easy to build it all again. Piece by piece, brick by brick, friend by friend.
It’s not easy to secure a job that appreciates your skills. It’s not easy to pile the money together that allows for the legal appreciation of those skills. It’s easy to think your skills are wanted. It is easy to think they are not.
It is easy to dream of a future. It is easy to hope your children born here will have the same rights of all children born here, it’s not easy to understand that they will not. It is easy to wish you had a voice. It is easy to wish you could vote.
It’s easy for it all to fall apart. It is easy to get sick. It is easy to get tired. It’s easy to be fired. Within a month it’s not easy to find another start. It is easy to find yourself alone. It’s easy to be sent home.
It is easy to love this country, to hoover up its history, to watch its passions at play, to smile at its larrikinism, and to want to stay. It is easy to admire a vast, handsome continent that will always yearn for workers. It is easy to witness the 457’s who helped smelt the ore, roast the nickel, clean the table, roll out the fibre, bone the meat, pour the concrete, teach the young, help the aged, market the product and tell the tale. It is easy to read about those 457’s that enlivened debate, fed this culture and helped take the mark.
Yes it is easy to forget this all, to exercise myopia, to starve a nation of its energy, to stilt its natural growth and watch its potential and skills slowly drift away. It is easy for the music to change, for a different piper to play a more alluring tune. Then it will be easy to grieve on a missed opportunity and to wallow in despair.
It is easy to see the challenges ahead for this country, it’s easy to see they are not discussed. It is easy to experience the cost of living rise as the hope that it will be tackled fades. Is it easy to passively watch one of the world’s most liveable cities rapidly become one of the world’s most expensive? It is easy to witness a groaning cost of doing business buckle hope, sap enthusiasm, stifle creativity and beckon in decay. It is not easy to view manufacturing die, while it is easy to see corruption, obfuscation and hyperbole live. It is easy to see real issues that demand attention whistling in the wind, while the flames to fuel re-election are furiously fanned.
It is easy to be disgusted at this debasing discourse. It is easy to soothe the gallery, to pick a fight with the meek to please the bullies in the crowd. It is easy to play fast and loose, to feed falsities to the hungry beasts, to find those numbers that multiply even the lowest common denominator.
It is easy to hope for leadership that charts a less murky path. One that solidifies our strengths, rather than fracturing our foibles, a course that yes reaches for the stars, instead of seeking to place the race card.
It is easy to see how immigration built this country, it is easy to see the politics that will rip it apart. It is easy to think that this country is racist. It’s easy to hope that it is not.