Today, I find myself in the thoroughly unsettling position of agreeing with Pauline Hanson. Now before you clamour to take me to the hospital to treat my obviously traumatic brain injury, which has taken away my ability to judge people by their own character instead of applying stereotypical hate-filled views to entire groups, you need to calm down.
Truly, there is no cause for concern. Despite the disturbing implications of my proclamation, it’s not as dire as it sounds. In truth, what I concur with is her latest comment that ‘she is over her tolerance’ – not that I can remember an actual example of this supposed broad-mindedness in her usually bile-filled rhetoric…but I digress.
Personally, I’m sick of it. I’m over being told that I should show compassion and tolerance to people who consistently show no regard for those different to them. Why are the victims of hate and bigotry always the ones expected to take the higher moral ground? For my part, I believe that in our continuing civilised quest for equality we have become doormats.
It’s like the recent brouhaha over uninviting the Prime Minister to Mardi Gras. I agree that if they tried to ban him from attending to completely, it would’ve been backward, short-sighted and unhelpful towards the cause of equality but that simply wasn’t the case. The board merely voted to no longer treat the man as a VIP when he has done nothing to earn that place. Claiming he supports us while simultaneously and steadfastly refusing to hold a vote to improve the lives of countless Australians is unconscionable. Why should we have this blind faith that treating him with respect will eventually see him do the right thing? If there is no consequence to his inaction what would ever motivate him to change?
Frankly, I don’t want to be ‘tolerated’ either. I want to be accepted and allowed to live my life in peace. As long as I’m not hurting others, or myself, then why the fuck does anyone else get to judge or say what I can or cannot do? I don’t mind people having different opinions to mine but I can’t abide when those opinions negatively impact the lives of others. I consider myself a generally calm and non-violent person but when I see case after case of needless suffering and death I feel like repeatedly punching something.
Granted the fight for equality has seen great strides over the years but there is still so far to go. Take the recent suicide of an Australian teenage boy, Tyrone Unsworth, who was unquestionably bullied to death for his sexual orientation. And yet, you have those amongst the conservative ranks that still believe that programs - like Safe Schools – which promote understanding and acceptance, rather than just a begrudging quasi-tolerance, aren’t necessary. No one, especially not a child, should be tormented until taking their own life seems like the only option.
Sadly, as noble as a concept of love defeating hate is, I’m tired of endlessly waiting in the vain hope that these people will possibly see the error of their prejudiced ways. People should be angry about discrimination, people should be vocal about the injustice and if we truly want equality then we should damn well start taking it.