*apologies to Dylan Thomas
I was going to write a ranty diatribe about Malcolm Turnbull (who we all had such high hopes for- well, I’m sure some people did) and about just how horrible the debate and plebiscite will be for me, personally, to endure, but I must not go angry into that bad night. In other words, they go low, we go high. And I go long, apparently. Forgive me, I don’t have the energy to edit this. I’m saving it to apply to the strategies below.
How to not let the plebiscite break your spirit or smash your soul
1. Summon some buoyancy and benevolence into your manner when responding to internet trolls and evil doers (if you must respond, and sometimes, I know, you must). For example (based on real example of troll with typical spelling and punctuation errors):
Myrtle: As a true cristian I believe in loving my neybour. So, I am not a homophobe. But in the eyes of the lord homosexuality is an abomination. Sorry. So I’ll be votting no. Being gay is not normal or part of gods plan.
You: Hi Myrtle! How lovely to see you here in cyberspace. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Just wanted to update you as I was talking to Jesus the other day and he and his two dads told me they totally support marriage equality and they’ve even officially included it in the document God’s Plan Version #398 soon to be released! Isn’t that great? So I’ll be voting yes. I reminded him that being homosexual was an abomination and he punched me in the face, so, that wasn’t so fun for me, being smitten. Is smitten the right form of the verb ‘to smite’? Maybe you can tell me as English is defs your strong suit. Thanks in anticipation! Great talking to you! Ta ta, God bless xx Love from fellow True Christian. [Insert smiley emoji].
2. Turn off the television. Turn off the internet. Turn off the newspaper especially columns by Miranda Devine. Turn off the post/evil pamphlets that may appear in your letter box (except for the stupid postal plebiscite, which is stupid and should not happen, but if it does go ahead, do not boycott it!! Be clever, not counterproductive). I know it’s hard. It’s like a train wreck in which you were on the train. You will be tempted to investigate just how tattered and torn your entrails may become in the comments section. I’ve done it myself. So now I know. DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS. If you do, refer to point 1.
3. All that talk of shutting things off brings to mind a different poet. W.H Auden. You know, ‘Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone’ etc. Basically, that all should be silent and in mourning because this sucks.
It will feel this way sometimes. You will be prone to feeling maudlin or disgruntled when people splash about on Facebook about wedding anniversaries or engagements that will not be Very Long. (Mine’s nearly ten years so far- Very Long). It’s all right for some, you may think. Your worth, value and legitimacy as a human person are not being decided by the bloke at work who hates you.You can get married as often and as enthusiastically (or not), as you like. You’ll be getting a telegram from the Queen before I even think of picking out a wedding dress. To wear in my coffin.
Yes, it is utterly cucumber (or insert epithet of choice). It is embittering (is that a word?), unjust and horribly unfair.
Hang on, I’ve forgotten my comforting words and suggested strategy…
This will do. Just think of that great thing Penny Wong said (insert great-thing-Penny-Wong-said of choice- there are many to choose from). Well, one of the things she said was to remember that your family and your peeps (and perhaps the Labor party) love and support you and that’s the most important thing. Or something like that.
4. Remember that they are just plain wrong. Allow me to demonstrate.
Person A: can I marry person B?
Law: Yep, sure.
Cool, right? Now…
Person C: can I marry person D?
Law: nope, on the basis of your gender.
Hold on. What??!? On what planet can this be so?
Yep. Leave aside all talk of religion, biology, political correctness (i.e. ‘not being a jerk’), family and the wellbeing of children (my kids are awesome, healthy and happy, thanks) and we come to this unassailable truth. Discrimination on the basis of gender is not lawful in our country. So eventually, things will be righted so that the Marriage Act also will not discriminate on the basis of gender. It’s unstoppable, says the person with an unwavering…wavering belief in our fine legal system. Yes, it’s delayable, thanks Mr Turnbull. But it will happen eventually. Probably.
5. Always carry a pen. The pen is mightier than the sword, quoth I. You may use pens for such ventures as voting Yes on a postal plebiscite, filling out the answers at pub trivia night, or correcting misinformation. Such as, if you walk past a poster that says ‘Children of same sex partnerships are totally going to be neglected and grow up to be losers,’ simply write NOT after the totally. Simples.
6. Eat nourishing food, get some fresh air and exercise, give up smoking and vaccinate your kids against whooping cough and self-hatred. I have to write this because I’m a doctor, but I also care about you, reader! I’m one of those people Penny Wong was talking about!!
7. If all else fails, make jam. An excellent young person I know and love posted a video yesterday: ‘On today’s episode of Angry Cooking I’m making some jam to distract myself from the plebiscite! You’ll need 1kg of strawberries, 2 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and some injustice and inequality to get it all started!’
Distraction is an excellent strategy, (thanks GB). The times when you feel the debate creep in around the edges of your mind and start to seep into your soul with its icy tendrils, that is the time to throw open your door and go for a walk, to bake cupcakes with sprinkles to take to work to show how festively gay you are, to write a blog post or a sonnet or a symphony, or to take up a new hobby such as hobby horsing (look it up, it’s insane!!!)
Please comment with any helpful strategies, morale boosting tips or words of comfort and solidarity. Any unhelpful or nasty comments should not be posted but rather inserted into an orifice of your choice. Or post them and I’ll cheerfully delete them. Because we are, apparently, politically correct and opposed to free speech and jerks. Thank you and good night.