I'm disturbed that there are people out there on the Left who do not get angry about stuff. Being angry does not mean you are incapable of a rational response. It does not mean that you can't contribute constructively. It does mean that you are passionate, and interested, and care. It means that you are probably prepared to do something, rather than nothing.
So I'm at a bit of a loss about some of the responses I've seen lately:
- Pay equity for women - apparently it's not a real pay gap, just a function of the market, down to individual women's actions, nothing to see here
- Paul Henry's obsession with Stephanie Mills' facial hair - can't you take a joke? let's just ridicule him by saying he was the first person in the world to lose an election to a transexual, if we pay this any attention then it'll just get him more ratings, he was just saying what everyone was thinking anyway, you don't write anything about Islamic oppression of women therefore you should just shut up
- Sexist attacks on Pauline Hanson via faked photos - you're just giving the issue more oxygen and making it a news story by discussing it in the first place, and also her politics are awful so she is getting what she deserves
- Female politicians being ranked for their beauty - it's just one facet of the way they are judged, they probably like that people think they are beautiful, besides I've had better
To me it's an analysis that denies how change happens in our society. Changes happens because enough people say they want it. They'll express that differently, and they'll work towards the change they want differently too, but being silent and doing nothing changes absolutely nothing. Waiting for someone else to do it may work, but sniping at those who speak up for change is generally counter-productive.
This picture was a snap I stole from somewhere during the trials around Rickards, Shipton, Schollum, McNamara and Dewar. I can't remember where it came from, so I apologise that I'm unable to give that hat tip. The Louise Nicholas case, and associated trials, seemed to me to breakthrough to many New Zealanders who weren't normally roused to anger. The groundswell was slow to build, and underground for a long time, and for me it wasn't until I was present at Louise Nicholas's book signing in Auckland that I realised it wasn't just the circles I moved in who were outraged. I think that when we are silent about these matters many people think they are alone in their anger, when in fact they are not.
If we say nothing in opposition then Pakeha culture takes that as consent. It is different in Maori tikanga, on the marae and at hui, but out here in the mainstream to be silent is to agree. When we get angry here, and we say something, we're standing up and disagreeing. Why some others would rather sit down and "tactfully discredit" people like Paul Henry, using bigoted statements that don't actually challenge the world view he espouses, is beyond me.