Thursday, September 28, 2017
Poetic Justice: Yes/no….yeah…nahI’m really concerned about the way...: Yes/no….yeah…nah I’m really concerned about the way that Australia's ‘yes’ ‘no’ 'marriage equality' survey is setting us all ...
I’m really concerned about the way that Australia's ‘yes’ ‘no’ 'marriage equality' survey is setting us all up to unwittingly comprise our values. Can we really promote the values of rights and equality when we engage in a polarising fight?
‘I’m not sure how I feel about it, but that person over there is waving a flag and is haranguing me to check the box that they insist upon. Bugger them, they can’t tell me what to do.’
Binary ways of thinking or behaving have a way of unsettling us, making us feel threatened. They corral us into formulating an ‘equal and opposite reaction’.
Yes or no really should not be the point.
I know for a fact that all humans have the same basic needs: to safety, lodgings, food, water, freedom, employment, religious expression, racial inclusion etc…I don’t think many people would disagree with this. I think most people would agree that when these needs are fulfilled society functions best.
We live in a civil society, which means the laws of this country apply to us all, to ensure we are safe-guarded in various spheres of life, and that society remains as stable as possible according the ‘agreed’/dominant values of the time. I’m really proud that Australian law protects the rights of people with disabilities, validates racial diversity, and recognises people’s rights to religious expression. The family law act governs the civil dissolution of marriage and division of property. Our laws protect our right to safety, and our right to make advanced directives about our children’s care in the event of illness or death, our property and our personal wellbeing. The intention of Australia legislation is to ensure that we are all taken care of, as best as an overarching set of regulations in a subjective decision making environment can do.
On the basis of current legislation, it’s apparent that Australian society values inclusion, safety and wellbeing for all. There is no grounds for debate within this value set. And from here it follows that we ought to all be treated as equal under the law.
I really don’t understand the inherent hypocrisy that certain groups of us, dwelling on Australian soil, either as citizens or otherwise, must adhere to all laws, but conversely the benefits of some of those laws are withheld from them. People on Manus Island (under our jurisdiction) must abide by Australian and international law, but are not protected by these laws when assaulted, or injured; do not have the right to medical treatment, to safe lodgings, employment, etc…. I do not understand why in Aboriginal communities policies are applied that limit freedom of choice and movement, that are not applied to non-Aboriginal people.
And why is it that children, who may have two Mums or two Dads, are excluded from the legislated safety net that is deemed essential for other children: these safeguards being the Family Law Act, and laws about inheritance and custody. Why must we discriminate in such a way that leaves some children and their parents incredibly vulnerable?
Wake up Australia. The polarising survey is a foil, set up to manipulate us into thinking that there’s a fight to be had, and that if I don’t fight for one or the other position, then something awful will happen to either me, my loved ones, or my society. The matter is not simply about the right to marry. It's about the legislated rights marriage then affords people.
Something awful is already happening. Heterosexual people are harping loudly in cafes about their steadfast opinions and their ‘right’ to chose yes or no. And when people in either camp overhear the other, the fight is on! And those who are at risk of being significantly affected by these choices (lovers, partners, parents, children), who overhear these conversations experience their identities and lives objectified, vilified, generalised, sanctified… othered, silenced.
I really like the idea of an Australian society that includes and equally respects us all as fellow human travellers, a society within which our basic needs and rights are safeguarded regardless of our difference. Can’t we just get on with what we purport to be our core Australian values, which we craftily promote to the rest of the world, but don't hold true…egalitarianism and diversity.