Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mr Prosser

The song and dance about Mr Prosser because of his hyperbole about young Muslim males seems to have died down, perhaps because it was really nowhere near as big an issue as all the other politicians (except Mr Peters) made out.  In his article in Investigate, Mr Prosser was plainly writing in an exaggerated fashion, which is what hyperbole means: the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.  [My italics]
The only reason all the MPs took it literally was because (a) they felt it was the PC thing to do - tolerance and all that; (b) Mr Prosser became the scapegoat for all those 'mistakes' that other politicians make - either intentionally or unintentionally.  It meant they could heap all the garbage on him and make themselves smell clean.
The Green Party made this statement, which is equally full of hyperbole: "...the Green Party moved that Parliament affirm "that all New Zealanders, regardless of their religious faith or ethnicity, should be treated equally before the law and that the rights and dignity of all people, in particular of Muslims, should be upheld, and that the House acknowledge the responsibility of all New Zealanders to care for one another, to honour the sanctity of each and every one of us, and act with justice, equity and respect in all that we say and do." Fine words, but note the phrase 'in particular of Muslims'.  This could easily be read as putting Muslims on a rung higher than everyone else.  Is that what they meant?  Very unlikely.  
And note the other phrase 'to honour the sanctity of each and every one of us.'  Compare this to this clause from the Green Party's Policy on Women: Review abortion services to ensure equity of access for women throughout New Zealand.  So it's all right to honour the sanctity of each and every one of us in a fancy, rhetorical style, but when it boils down to honouring the sanctity of the lives of children as yet unborn, the Green Party wants to ensure that women claiming their 'right' to do what they want with their own bodies, can abort these children.  
With one hand the Green Party hoists itself up a notch with its fine words; with the other it drops back again into the same old tired slogans.  
In another paragraph from the NZ Herald's report we have: But while some, including Dr Ghani [President of the Federation of Islamic Associations], said they accepted [Mr Prosser's] apology at face value, others, including Prime Minister John Key and Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, were doubtful.  Mr Key's comment was: if he's apologised he's just doing that to move on. 
Huh?  Would Mr Prosser apologise in order to stand still?  He had no reason to apologise in the first place, but having apologised he's supposed to act as if he hasn't apologised.  Please, Mr Key.  Speak logically if you will (and remember that every time you open your mouth you tend to contradict something you said on other occasion; it's all reported by the media).  David Shearer said anyone holding Mr Prosser's sort of views shouldn't be an MP.  Really?  I'd be interested to hear what the criteria are for being an MP.  It might be enlightening. 
The right honourable Hone Hawawira was so incensed with Mr Prosser he wouldn't even let him make a personal statement in Parliament.  Where was the Speaker at that time - or has Harawira decided that he makes the rules in the House now?  Note that this is the same Mr Harawira who swore in response to a question from a student at Waikato University in which the student, Steve Baron, referred to Māori as a "minority group," (which statistically, they are). Harawira said Mr Baron was a racist who "lumped Māori in with other minorities like homosexuals and Asians.....He tried it on and he got his comeuppance."   The same Mr Harawira who was part of a group that assaulted University students with bats and hoses.  The same Mr Harawira who said he "wouldn't feel comfortable" if one of his children came home with a Pākehā partner, but he asked whether "all Pākehās would be happy with their daughters coming home with a Māori boy? The answer is they wouldn't." He was asked, since some of his whānau have dated Pacific Islanders and he didn't have an issue with it, "does that make him prejudiced?" He said "Probably, but how many people don't have prejudices?"
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said Mr Prosser should leave Parliament.  'This is hate speech, I'm concerned that NZ First continues to support him.'  Green Party members are very concerned about 'hate speech'. A 74-year-old German female pensioner was dobbed in by the German Green Party for carrying a 'hate speech' sign in a demonstration; Presidential Candidate for the Green Party, Roseanne Barr, called a Christian speaker 'an accomplice to murder' for disagreeing with liberal views about gay marriage. The problem is, that what the Green Party calls 'hate speech' used to be called 'free speech' - in other words, a different opinion on some particular question.
Act Party leader John Banks said while he'd probably made more mistakes than Mr Prosser, "he needs to fall on his sword."  It's interesting to hear Mr Banks admitting to making mistakes - he's never apologised before for most of his blunders since he's been in Parliament.  
 So, as usual, the upshot is that if there's a chance to win points off an MP, or a Party, then other MPs or Parties will do so.  Never mind about governing the country; just waste heaps of expensive time (even more expensive since the last politicians' pay rise at Christmas) on issues that are small in the overall view of things.  Perhaps Mr Prosser was foolish to write in such an exaggerated fashion.  Nevertheless he's pointing at a real problem, which is that airport security since 2001 has become a nightmare: it's expensive, it's time-consuming, and it's mostly unproductive.  And worst of all, the innocent passengers who just want to get from A to B are the ones that suffer.
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