Title: Editorial: Not One Of Us Credit: Chris Banks Comment Sunday 10th April 2005 - 12:00pm1113091200 Article: 694 Rights
"There's safety in numbers, when you learn to divide How can we be in, if there is no outside? All shades of opinion, feed an open mind But your values are twisted, let us help you unwind You may look like we do, talk like we do But you know how it is You're not one of us Not one of us No, you're not one of us" - Peter Gabriel, Not One Of Us, 1980 The sound of people swapping shoes from one foot to the other could be heard across the nation after fundamentalist Christian journalist Ian Wishart belatedly released further comments from the infamous Tamihere interview this Sunday, in which the boorish Labour MP decries the Holocaust, saying he's "sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed." Opposition MPs and rednecks alike had a field day last week when the first part of the Tamihere interview was released. The editorials, talkback stations, smoko rooms, and the households of this country – as National's deputy leader Gerry Brownlee so roundly recounted - seized with mirth upon the labelling of gay MPs Chris Carter and Tim Barnett as “those two queers”, and the insinuation that the country was being run by an anti-family cabal of “butch” lesbians who were out of touch with so-called real New Zealanders. The sexuality of the Prime Minister herself was gleefully called into question, along with her lack of children. How was this woman fit to run our glorious country of heterosexual families, when she herself was so out of touch she chose to surround herself with those who “chose” that selfish lifestyle? Why would she do that unless she were one herself? Yes, John Tamihere was telling the truth, they all said. She doesn't have to take her kids to soccer on a Saturday. She's not like us. They're not like us. We knew it all along and now it has been confirmed. It's ironic that Tamihere has taken a potshot at the Jews, because the sentiments he expressed about gays – which, when taking into consideration the sneering invective behind them, were on a par with his Holocaust snipe – echo the nasty conspiracy theory sentiments that led to the Holocaust in the first place, a Holocaust in which, it should be noted, thousands of homosexuals were also exterminated. But the worm has now turned. Those who patted Tamihere on the back and said what a good bloke he was for "telling the truth" now think he should resign. Even those liberals who tut-tutted and chastised him gently for his queers-are-disgusting outbursts have now said that while they're happy for politics to be a broad church, now that he's dropped some ignorant comments about the Holocaust, they don't want their church to be THAT broad. So once again the gay and lesbian community takes a hit. A politician can call us queer (imagine the furore if a white MP had called fellow Maori or Pacific Island MPs "niggers" or a "bunch of coconuts"), he can say our private lives are "unhealthy" and "violating", he can say he has a perfect right to protect his children from "choosing" our lifestyle, and his inalienable right to freedom of speech will be upheld. But as soon as he makes a tasteless comment about the victim mentality of minorities and invokes the Holocaust – well, he's gotta go. In many ways, we only have ourselves to blame. The Jewish community got it right after World War II. They lived through six million of their number being exterminated, and watched in the war's early years as the world sat idly by, tut-tutting and fretting as a climate of hate was created that led to the gas chambers being fired up. They decided afterwards that there was no way on God's earth that they would ever be victimised again, and ever since, if anyone has dared to encroach upon their dignity as human beings – out has come the verbal flamethrower, and rightly so. We're just over three months into an election year, and already we have seen our community used, abused and exploited shamelessly for political gain, over and over – and can assure you there will be more to come from various quarters in the ensuing weeks. If Tamihere and his ilk think they've got a perfect right to lash out at us, then it follows that we have the right to throw it right back in their faces, and draw a firm line in the sand right here. That "queer tosser" Chris Carter, supposedly part of the anti-family out of touch government is a PARENT. You won't hear him dragging his children out as trophies to show what a wonderful upstanding New Zealander he is, though, although other MPs were happy to make snide remarks about his family last year during the civil unions debate as they held public rallies to stir up opposition to it. Carter's loving, committed relationship of twenty-plus years with another man puts the "marriages" of some of his heterosexual colleagues – and detractors – to shame. We will not be told any longer that we are inferior, that our "lifestyles" are chosen, that we are unhealthy, that we are a threat to children, and – most insulting of all – that all of the above are acceptable opinions worthy of being granted free speech. Well, if they are, then bring on the skinheads and fire up the gas chambers again. Because if that's the price of "free speech", our country's credit limit has just run out. P.S. Last time I looked, parenthood was a choice, and that's an indisputable scientific fact. The next time someone pisses and moans about taking their kids to soccer on a Saturday, perhaps a gentle reminder in their ear about the wonders of modern birth control would be in order. Chris Banks - 10th April 2005    
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