Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thumper's Law

When I was a child, I had Thumper's Law forced upon me regularly. Actually, there are a few bit's of Thumper's wisdom that I can quote, but there is one bit of crucial advice that this cartoon rabbit provides that I think all people should know - and think about before they open their mouths. (For those who don't know, Thumper is the rabbit in Bambi).

Thumper's Law is quite simple.

Thumper, I think, has it right. If you can't say anything nice, keep your trap shut.

Thumper had something else to say in Bambi - Thumper, it appears, was the philosopher of the movie.
 It runs like this:

Yep, that works - thought part of this negates what Thumper is best known for.

So, I've been thinking about Thumper and what he has to say - and then applying it to the latest media kerfuffles that have been going on here lately. Namely immigration and the dreaded "M" word.

The M word being Muslims.

And this is where Thumper's Second Law is being invoked.

If you're scared, be as scary as you can be to scare the rest. Is it working? No. Is it drumming up debate. Yes.

Sonia Kruger, bless her, opened her mouth to the astonishment of her colleagues - and to her credit, she won't back down on her views. Is she racist. Probably not. Is she xenophobic. Probably a little. Does she deserve to be vilified by the press and social media - to a certain extent.

I'm not going to start on Pauline Hanson. Not even going to go there. She's just loopy. Like if she's going after banning Halal certification, why not go after the Kosher certification - they're basically exactly the same thing! Sheesh. Anyway, I'm not pouring oxygen on that one.

Sonia Kruger spoke out of fear, and in doing this, invoked Thumper's Second Law.

From where I'm standing, Sonia probably should have invoked Thumper's First Law and kept her trap shut. In the words of George Brandis, "Every Australian has the right to be a bigot." But it's probably not the best to be a bigot on breakfast television. Maybe you have the right to be perceived as a bigot in your own front room, I reckon - and then have a bloody good look at your viewpoints.

What Sonia Kruger has done has spoken out of fear, and she's paid he price. I also think she's spoken out of emotion and a touch ignorance.

As it has been widely reported, the people who are perpetrating these terror attacks overseas have been people born in the country to which they commit these acts. They're the children of people who've moved to these countries to find a better life. A lot of these so called terrorists appear to be disenfranchised by the state in which they live. Many appear to have some form or quantifiable mental illness too.

So, what can be done?

Restricting Muslim immigration isn't the answer. That's just a witch hunt of biblical proportions. People who immigrate here have to go through thorough background checks anyway. Besides, Muslims, like Christians and Buddhists and Hindus and every other religion come in all shapes and sizes. Just as religious fanatics come in all shapes and sizes.

You're telling me that Pauline Hanson and Cory Bernardi aren't dangerous? Well, attitudes based on fear and ignorance (and in Bernardi's case based on White Privilege and rabid Catholicism) are just as dangerous.

Possibly Sonia could have looked past her emotions of seeing a dead child under a blanket on a Nice street and asked herself, "Why would somebody do something like this?" not "Who would do something like this?"

I think it's worth remembering that poor child who drowned in the Mediterranean  a few months back  - the one all over the papers - he was Muslim...

Maybe she should look to her Muslim friends and see what their reaction was to all of these messes of the past few years. Maybe she should talk to her Muslim friends and listen to their experiences in this country and hear about some of the things they've been subjected to over the last few years. (Same goes for the idiots wanting a plebiscite on the subject of same sex marriage - listen to people and get this legislated NOW!)

Maybe, instead of trying to be scarier than her fear, she should have a look at what is an extremely complicated, emotive and changing topic and become better grounded in what people really want (maybe have a look at Maslow's theories) rather than speaking out from her own emotions.

Yes, Sonia Kruger is a goose - an emotional goose. I'd be asking her to read wider, talk more and discuss the real issues behind what makes a man get into a lorry and mow down a crowd rather than make blanket statements which fire up people.

I think there's a lot of people who should be doing this. Walk a mile in another person's shoes before casting judgements. Find out what people are like. Work out why people stick together in their ethnic groups and don't assimilate with the mainstream. Think about what it is to be shunned by a society which has taken you in. And think about what you might be able to do about it rather than putting a blanket ban on having people of a whole religion turned away.

And most of all. If you don't have anything nice to say, keep quiet, until you can work out a better way of saying things - once you've looked around all of the facts.

P.S.  I rather like the Guardian's First Dog on the Moon's take on this.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, leaving a comment via iphone doesn't work - all that typing....

Anyway, I was saying that I don't agree; I think it's perfectly fine for Soni to open her mouth and speak her mind. It's the way civilized people deal with issues - it's the only way to start a healthy debate. I may not agree, but she is entitled to her opinion and she's also entitled to voice it.
And as far as the "complex issue" goes, is it really that complex? People that can't agree with the way we live her need to get the f@ck out! That goes for muslims, for Chinese but just as much if you're Dutch and can't live the way you're expected to in this country.

It's shocking to see that during the coup in Turkey, the Dutch youth with Turkish parents demonstrated on the streets voicing their disgust; they're muslim first, Turkish second and only a very distant Dutch third. That's what's wrong; they're born in the Netherlands, but still - even after 20 to 30 years - are not Dutch. And some people may say that if you clearly have an integration issue that you're unsure how to resolve, you start with at least not enlarging the problem. That's what people like Sonia may think and say, and it's a good thing they can - because only debate can lead to a solution.

Pandora Behr said...

Hey there.

Just a couple of points. Yes, Sonia is entitled to her opinion, and putting it out there does spark debate - which is good - but her comments, which come from emotion, because she want to "feel safe" - looking at what happened in Nice, the fellow was unhinged first and foremost. As his uncle said - "call him muslim - he hasn't been in a Mosque in 20 years.

My issue with these sorts of blanket statements is that by not allowing any Muslims in would include the doctors, nurses, engineers, cleaners, you name it, who will come in and be a part of the community. (I can name many many ex-colleagues who come into this bracket - I know you can too)

I do get what you're saying in your second paragraph - and I don't have a solution to it.

But putting out statements, as Sonia Kruger has done - from a place of fear (which she has admitted) rather than from a more informed and rational place, only exacerbates what you're talking about in your second paragraph.

Come here and fit in - absolutely. But by demonising a whole religion you're doing more harm that good. Well that's my opinion anyway.

Jackie K said...

Agree Panda this blog post pretty much sums up my views too. You've covered it all.

Jackie K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.