Okay it's a bad pun but that is kind of fitting. In my view, everything to do with Fraser Anning being hit with an egg was bad.
I’ve already written one post about Anning tonight and I so even the fact that I am writing about that lowlife again frustrates me, but so does everything about this episode.
How there are still people that want to hear the senator speak at an event is another slightly depressing aspect of this whole saga, but regardless of my disdain for the senator, I didn’t like anything about this story.
I hated reading about a young kid being set upon with manifestly excessive force by a group of thugs. It will be interesting to see whether any charges can be laid, or whether he looks at civil litigation.
I won’t argue that Anning is scum. But I can't condone any kind of unprovoked attack on a politician (or anyone really) no matter how abhorrent I may find his views. Similarly when a self-described anarchist headbutted the loathsome Tony Abbott in a Hobart park, there was no way I could condone such as action no matter how much I detest our former PM.
“It’s just an egg,” you might say. Fair enough, but what does it represent? If you think that comparing throwing an egg to a violent assault is a bit of a stretch, let’s consider a more similar example.
Alan Joyce experienced a similar attack when he had a cake shoved in his face at a public event by an opponent of marriage equality. Even though there was no injury caused, this was widely- and quite rightly- condemned as unacceptable. Why? Because the offender in question had no legal right to physically interfere with Mr Joyce and the implication is that the victim is not safe from this type of harassment at any moment they are in public. This is not peaceful protest. It is intimidation.
The major difference between the attack on Mr Joyce and the one on Mr Anning appears to be that most of Australia thinks the egg was okay because the senator deserved it. Maybe he did- or even something worse- but it wasn't kid's place to decide.
I'd hate to see a society where if your views were judged too divergent from mainstream, you were free game for people to harass in the street. Who would make the distinctions about who deserved this type of treatment and what level of harassment was considered fair? A couple of years ago, my views about our disgusting treatment of refugees seemed to be far removed from the majority of Australians. That could have made me a fair target under such a paradigm.
And that is what we are tacitly condoning as we continue to lionise this attack and the boy behind it.
People are going to tell me the kid was standing up against bigotry and to that I would say, I applaud his passion but he should find a better way. Equally, I don't seek to question the boy's motives or integrity, but the internet has no shortage of people looking for their 15 minutes of fame. What do you think this public adulation of this kid means for the likelihood of copycats? Let's not forget that this young kid copped a pretty heavy and disproportionate assault in response. I don't want to see any more young kids getting hurt like that (or worse) in an effort to achieve internet stardom.
Lastly, Anning deserves a nation's disgust- not our sympathy. Don't give him any chance to play the victim (conservatives will do this at the first opportunity). Public dialogue in this country is for once focused on inclusion and tolerance. This is a conversation people like Anning, Hanson and Abbott have no place in. Let’s leave them sidelined and take the conversation further. Arguably, incidents like this give Anning relevance when we could move on without him.