opinion

"When did we stop being one country?" A message from a resident of the 'dirty state'.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.

“Build the wall let them be the socialist republic of Victoria.”

This is an actual comment on a Facebook page of a major news site on an article about Victoria's lockdown - and there are many more who echo that sentiment in one way or another.

Lately, I find myself scrolling through comment sections, reading the remarks from residents of, as they like to call themselves, “clean states”.  

As a resident of Victoria, aka the “dirty state”, I can only describe this as some kind of self-imposed mental beating yet I find myself spending hours reading the endless barrage of hate in disbelief. 

How the hell did it come to this? To the point where Aussies are legit posting comments about BUILDING WALLS around a state that is home to millions of their fellow Aussies? Oh, hi Trump, didn’t realise you’d moved down under.

How did we go from uniting together as a nation earlier in the year during the bushfire crisis, to hurling abuse in the general direction of people who suffered during that same crisis?

Don’t get me wrong, I COMPLETELY understand that everyone is scared and that what we’re told to do to protect ourselves is quite literally and figuratively stay the f**k away from each other; but I don’t recall any of the health advice to include direct hurtful, uneducated slander at a group of human begins... the keywords here being HUMAN BEINGS, who are unsure whether they’ll even be able to see their loved ones for months. 

Victoria had the harshest restrictions and lockdown in the country. 

We were in lockdown longer than any state. And not the type of lockdown where you can still have a couple of people over to your house. No, the 'you can't see anyone outside of your household' lockdown. Not even your parents. Or you dying Aunty.

We’re the state who couldn’t even go to our Mum’s house for Mother’s Day.

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We’re the state who was the last be able to go to the pub for a beer. (At the time of writing this, we still can only do this sitting down with a maximum of six people.)

We’re the state who still can’t have a get together with all of our friends at one time. Goodbye birthday parties or engagement celebrations. 

Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. On this episode, the team discuss Australia's COVID-19 spike. Post continues below. 

 

So many of us are now plunged back into the unknown, back into isolation and loneliness.

And now on top of that, we’re “the dirty state”, we’re the “bad state”. Apparently we should have a wall built around us, we should never be able to get out to see our families again, we failed to protect ourselves; and because our premier Dan Andrews said one silly thing about South Australia, all Victorians should be locked away forever. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to some of the words being directed our way. 

I know there are so many amazing people out there who are not echoing these sentiments, but the fact that so many people in our much-loved nation do feel this way is heartbreaking.

I am genuinely sad and hurt because the very people who are meant to be holding the nation together - the State Premiers - continue to use divisive language when speaking publicly about the Victorian outbreaks.

Just a couple of days ago, the front page of a major newspaper from another state read “Sictoria - Second wave puts entire nation at risk”. If that isn’t fear-mongering, I don’t know what is. Bravo, mature reporting right there.

I’m not going to pretend to be an epidemiologist or know the exact stats around why we’re experiencing an outbreak and other states are not, but I know one thing for sure - it’s not for lack of trying on our part. We’re trying Really. Fricking. Hard. 

I guess all of this brings me to this point: When did we stop being one country?

Do you live in Victoria? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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