At a time when the world is beset by political and social extremism on the one hand and a global undercurrent of deep deep concern about global warming and the need for social and economic stability and goodwill on the other, it is painful to observe the divisions and problems that many leading western nations are exhibiting.

The brawling and political warfare which continues to persist in the United States at the present demonstrates how dangerous extreme political partisanship can be when unity, common sense and common purpose are needed to heal and restore the nation’s claimed ideal of democratic leadership but it is also evident that the USA has fallen short in major areas of social welfare and responsibility.

The toll extracted by the COVID virus on Americans has been extraordinary and the end to that crisis is still some way off.

More than 750,000 American citizens have died from the pandemic and hundreds of thousands more are suffering from ongoing medical conditions as a result of the infection.

The huge number of casualties from COVID in America has arisen from the trumping of medical science and prudence by political arrogance and aided by entrenched ignorance or social media-driven misinformation.

The decay of a responsible health and welfare environment in the United States is perhaps highlighted by the failures of authorities to
rein in the drug overdose crisis which continues to persist in that country.

The U.S. government announced this month that more than 100,000 people have died in that country between April 2020 and April 2021 from drug overdoses.

The overdose death rate stood at 20,000 a year back in 2001.

But opioid misuse has accelerated a health disaster.

More people have died from the illegal synthetic opioid fentanyl than there were overdose deaths from all drugs in 2016, reports the Washington Post.

President Joe Biden has warned that while efforts to contain the COVID crisis continue the nation cannot ignore the overdose epidemic which is hitting hard in many areas of the country.

We think that this country is facing a drug problem – and perhaps it is – but illegal opioid use in this country is low by comparison with the U.S.

Only 0.1 per cent of the Australian population reported using heroin in 2019.

The overdose death rate in Australia in 2019 was 1,865; one quarter of this number related to heroin.

Criminal syndicates, however, continue to test our borders by trying to smuggle drug shipments in.

The U.S., of course, is not alone when it comes to trying to successfully control and end the COVID pandemic.

European nations too are increasingly discovering that they do not have COVID under control.

We Australians, however, although often critical and suspicious of our political leadership, have been prepared, in the main, to listen to the advice and information supplied by our acknowledged leaders in the medical and scientific field.

It seems that our nation is emerging from the lockdown era and some of the differing approaches to controlling the pandemic adopted by the states which have caused some political bunfights are coming to an end.

While some political ratbaggery exists and persists our national approach to dealing with COVID has been successful when measured against international outcomes.

Common sense, expert advice, and social cohesion seem to have prevailed in this country in the battle against COVID.

That battle is not yet over but we are approaching the time when life may again return to ‘normal’.

Perhaps, in the aftermath of the past two years, it is with some quiet pride that we can reaffirm that we are glad to be Australians.

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