Thursday, October 20, 2011

There Will Be Blood

 It's easy to forget in the excitement of the World Cup and Christmas being around the corner that in just over a month there is an election. I wish there wasn't. I wish it had already been, the day Dan Carter injured his groin, or the week after the Rena hit the reef. I wish there was more than a month between us winning the Cup and us taking to the polls. But it hasn't been, and there won't be, so I'm just going to remind you of a few things.

1. Today there was a march on parliament calling for the legalising of same-sex marriage. There were lots of people smiling and waving flags, and support from Labour and, no doubt, the Greens. It looked like a lovely place to be; seeing it on the news made me feel happy (though I wish it was unnecessary). Then John Key came on, and I felt decidedly unhappy. He was asked if same-sex marriage was a priority for him, and he replied that we need to concentrate on the economy. I hate him. I was reminded of the letter Martin Luther King Jr wrote in the Birmingham jail, and in particular the phrase "horse-and-buggy pace". Marrying Vincent was so important to me; I'd always thought I would have a civil union because marriage excludes same-sex couples, but when it came to it, nothing else was enough, and I could barely wait two months. Waiting indefinitely would be torture; I hate thinking that a couple feeling the way Vincent and I feel about each other can't do what we did. Like I said when I was five, it's not fair. A friend of mine posted this quote today; it's nothing ground-breaking, but it's clear, and he seems to know what he's on about:

'Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless 
means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.'  Paolo Freire

2. Labour plans to legalise gay adoption. There is much room for improvement in the party, but this is heartening.
3. Labour has pledged to target homelessness. Under current law, asking for money (including having a sign and hat in front of you) is considered "anti-social behaviour", and police and council representatives are able to "move on" anyone doing so. Vincent and I witnessed this a few weeks ago when one of our homeless neighbours had his sign ripped up by a cop and was told to get going. We were incensed. As the gap widens between the rich and poor, ignorance increases. This is one of the reasons Campbell Live is so important; it frequently features stories about families living in poverty, and while many viewers might not realise poverty is far from unusual, at least they see life from someone else's perch. As long as homelessness exists in NZ, it has to be visible; it has to be. It's too easy for us with somewhere warm to sleep to forget about about people who have to cover themselves in newspaper and sleep in doorways. I want the man who asks me for a dollar on High Street to ask, and when he tells me to have a lovely day, I feel like I've been given a gift.

It's a month and six days until the election, but it really only takes a minute to think about what you think is important. For me, it's everyone getting a chance at a happy life.

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