Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just another day

There were people who declared that today wouldn’t happen. They said that because marriage equality was enacted, New Zealand would be destroyed. Seriously.

The spittle-flecked denouncements of the law by the cranks, crackpots and weirdos could be found on talkback radio and all over the Internet. The far right’s overreaction was as predictable as it was unhinged.

The professional political far right activists tried to leverage their loss to gain some power. The one-man band known as Protect [sic] Marriage NZ used its Twitter feed today to complain about a possible change to abortion law to make access more transparent. What, precisely, that has to do with marriage protecting is beyond me.

The one-man Conservative “Party”, led by millionaire businessman and religious extremist Colin “God Bless” Craig, solemnly declared, “the day of reckoning on the redefinition [sic] of marriage is still to come.” The press release then moves breathlessly on to promote its main agenda item: Binding referenda on nearly every issue. Considering that each referendum costs New Zealand taxpayers millions of dollars, one must wonder how Colin plans to pay for them all—certainly not from his personal fortune, though he’s not above wasting millions of his own money on his pet far right causes, including his own failed campaign last election.

What the far right—professional and crackpot alike—share is contempt for elected representative democracy. I’ve gone over this before during the marriage equality debate, but the people DO decide every issue when they vote. Some on the far right also complained about “unelected” List MPs deciding the issue, apparently forgetting that if they cast a Party Vote, these whingers and moaners did, in fact, vote for the List MPs of their preferred party. If they don’t like their party’s List MPs, that’s an issue for them to take up with their party, not try to end democracy because they don’t like what the MPs they voted for did.

Like far right activists during the campaign, far right commenters also deliberately misrepresented the level of support for marriage equality. Like troglodyte New Zealand First MP Winston Peters, they quoted a TV show’s cellphone text poll as if it was evidence of anything other than the rightwing’s determination to register how very much they were opposed to the bill—at 50 cents per text. So they have a lot of money to send texts to the poll—so what? Real polls consistently showed that most New Zealanders support marriage equality, and they damn well know that (or should). Not even the professional activists trumpeted this non-poll, even though some of them had trumpeted other non-polls, and they deliberately misrepresented the results of real polls.

That was the reaction on the fringes. Of course the vast majority of New Zealanders were nothing like the cranks, crackpots, weirdos and professional activists on the far right. Most New Zealanders were either happy about the change or indifferent, since it doesn’t affect them.

Unlike the fringes, mainstream New Zealand knew that today would be just another day. But really, this wasn’t just another day: It was a day with greater justice and equality. It was actually a better day.

No comments: