An Open Letter to Australia...
September 27, 2017
Australia is a nation historically adverse to change. And in some respects, rightly so. It’s a pretty idyllic existence with its long summers, good wages and high standards of living. So why let this Same Sex Marriage vote mess with the way things are?
Well, because mostly it’s too late.
The most important thing to realise about the aftermath of this plebiscite is that voting No will not maintain the status quo that we so inherently crave. It will not allow us to return to this eerily pleasant kind of equilibrium that has been maintained over the years where there is a gay community that is acknowledged, but doesn’t cause a fuss. A No vote won’t just stop same sex marriage.
What it will do however is give homophobia an institutionalized legitimacy that will take generations to undo. It will give people who may have previously sat quietly on their prejudices the power of knowing that they are now in the majority and that they are free to voice these prejudices openly and freely, once again. Voting No will not take us back to the good old days of having to google what the word plebiscite meant, or where Tony Abbott had thankfully faded into the political shadows or where people didn’t actually care who sung at the Grand Final. It has to be acknowledged that this vote has succeeded in changing the social fabric of Australia and voting No will not reverse that.
Despite the fact using Trump as a case study now for anything has almost become the equivalent of bringing up Hitler to prove a point in a drunken dinner table argument, we need to take a long hard look at the repercussions of what it means when we legitimize a movement like his within a political institution.
Trump has proven time and time again that he has little time for issues surrounding racial inequality in his country. Although in this day in age the world would never tolerate a flagrant white supremacist as a US President, even his slight leanings towards racial intolerance, gives the movement just the right amount of political legitimacy to bring itself up out of the shadows and into the main stream. Whereas before these people were seen as just deranged hillbillies, with the perceived support of their Commander in Chief, they have been allowed to press forward with the consideration that they themselves are in fact valid contenders in the political zeitgeist.
So even if you sincerely believe yourself to not be homophobic and are voting against gay marriage on the grounds of religion or whatever else, your vote still fuels the sentiment that homosexuality is wrong. Although you may not identify with the anti-LGBT movement openly, your No vote inadvertently supports their cause.
A No vote won’t make gay marriage go away. A No vote won’t stop your news feed being bombarded with articles on it or make video clips of panel discussions, street fights or awkward memes about, it disappear. A No vote won’t allow you to go back to your life before this plebiscite. That life no longer exists.
Australia may be a nation historically adverse to change but voting no will not give you back the country you remember. Be on the right side of history. Vote Yes.