29 December 2016

Stupidity fatigue

2016 has taken heaps of our favourite celebrities. It's not even an age thing because they've been aged everything from 27 to 99, and I don't mind admitting that I really hope that somebody is sitting next to Betty White ready to punch the Grim Reaper in the face if he even glances in her direction.

It's also taken a bunch of really clever people like the guy who invented the Heimlich manoeuvre which is a very effective way of stopping somebody from choking and a whole bunch of scientists that invented things I take for granted. A lot of them were really old and they had had, as we say, 'a good innings'. Which is probably true but I suspect the cricketer still feels a bit bummed when he gets out. 

And we've had the whole rise of facism thing going on. And politicians accusing the elderly and the differently abled of being leaners, when they get a quarter of a million dollars a year for life just for doing their jobs. We have people saying things or people or ideas are un-Australian with no irony at all despite our failure to recognise the first Australians in our constitution.

We have people saying that Muslims hate women as they send obscenity laden emails to women suggesting they needed to be raped or violated to teach them a lesson. And they don't even see how moronic they are. We have women heaping hatred upon other women for their views, views they can only have come across because they are too ugly to fuck. Those women don't need feminism clearly because they are as good as the men at using sexual violence or innuendo to silence other women. 

And we are protecting our borders and keeping people from dying at sea, by killing people in our government sanctioned concentration camps and we still think somehow this is good politics, good for the country and good for our souls. 

Now everybody doesn't obviously think as I do because Trump, Brexit, Hanson, Bernardi. But the conundrum I have been struggling with is why do people have so much hatred for others?

I hear the answers. I listen as hard as I can but there is nothing that people are saying that makes any
sense to me. 

They say we can't have Muslims 'imposing' their way of life on us? But firstly, we did that to the First Australians and it was okay? Secondly, they aren't. 

They say refugees are violent, disrespectful of women and don't follow our laws. Yet they don't contribute to our statistics of one women dead a week. They're not the footballers or politicans being jailed for rape. They aren't the Obeids or Oliver Curtis or any of the other entitled going to jail for breaking the law. 

We can't have marriage equality because Beazley and Howard put that in place. If we want all our citizens to be equal we need to spend millions of dollars. We can't provide foreign aid even though we are the third wealthiest nation per capita in the world. We can't be feminists because Julie Bishop doesn't want to be one. We don't know why our children are racists when we refer to 'bloody Chink tradies' or say 'It's our bloody country' as we stand with our foot on the neck of First Australians. 

We spit bile and quote the Telegraph. We forget the IRA - the non-Muslim terrorists, we forget the Crusades, we forget that some of our favourite footballers and celebrities came here as refugees. We suck on the tit of xenophobic media and blame somebody, anybody for our misfortunes. We don't blame the people we are electing to look after us and build us a better country. We blame the poor folk who have had to leave their countries because it's been annihilated, bombed into nothing.

I am listening. I promise you. But there is so much evidence. Scientific evidence. Government evidence. Expert evidence that points out that a harmonious society, one focussed on people not power, means that everybody is wealthier. Happier. 

And it's possible to change your views. I used to be the person that could explain away racism and sexism and all the other 'isms' by citing political correctness, it was just a joke and so on. But I don't anymore and that's because I started to read. And listen. And learn.

And I learned that I was wrong. That I needed to change what I had absorbed, what I had been taught and what I took for granted. It didn't happen over night. I'm still a work in progress, I still get it wrong sometimes.  I'm all for doing things like growing the economy and having a great political system and having a laugh - but not if it means we're shitting on the most vulnerable whether they be our elderly, our very young, our refugees, our most fragile. 

I haven't written about this for a while because I haven't been able to articulate the fatigue of having to constantly counteract people's stupidity. It is draining to stand up and call people out on bigotry but if I don't, I'm part of the problem and not part of the solution.

I don't exactly know exactly what the solution is. But I do know this tendency to be proud of our stupidity, determined in our ignorance, and actively hateful, is not it.

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