Before the bodies are even cold from the latest atrocity it is not hard to imagine Hanson, Bolt and Christenson- and the racist groups they champion- salivating in anticipation of the inflammatory rhetoric they will soon unleash.
Against such a backdrop, Progressive voices could almost be excused for responding in the same manner to incidents that support their narrative. Almost. Thankfully they rarely do.
When a mass stabbing in Japan occurred within a week of Bolt and Kruger’s cherry-picked assertion that Japan was safer than Australia because it had a much lower Muslim population, no one needed to point it out. It was an awful tragedy that shouldn’t be used for political ends and it wasn’t.
The actions of right wing terrorist, Phillip Galea, were met with a number of comparisons to how we would respond if he was Muslim. There were also a few ironic suggestions that all self-proclaimed patriots should be banned so we can all feel safe. I don’t mind that people make these points calmly. Anti-racism groups have an important role in countering the bigots’ ridiculous claims. However I would strongly prefer that this is done dispassionately, without hyperbole or glee.
Because in both cases I mentioned, there is nothing to be happy about. Being right is not a fair exchange for the suffering of others- even in the Galea case, where he was arrested before carrying out any attacks. This is still a frightened, psychologically damaged man, whose suffering will be felt vicariously by his friends and family. Can anyone be happy about that?
I have said elsewhere that we rarely succeed in changing people’s attitudes if we insult them or put them too far on the defensive. But more importantly, when we greet tragedies that suit our narrative with the enthusiasm of the Hansons and Christensons of this world, we are dropping (a long way) to their level and lessening ourselves.